376 pages, 8 × 5.19 × 0.68 in
January 25, 2007
Barnes & Noble Shakespeare
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1411400364
ISBN - 13: 9781411400368
Read from the Book
Introduction to Romeo and Juliet by Mario DiGangi Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” So familiar is Romeo and Juliet to us that it takes an act of conscious will to imagine a time when Juliet’s question was not a cliché. In its immediate dramatic context, Juliet’s question is the spontaneous, tentative, and private expression of a young woman’s burgeoning erotic desire. It also serves to confirm Juliet’s true feelings for Romeo, who overhears her confession from beneath her window. Yet in our own time, Juliet’s anguished question is repeated again and again in the classroom, on the stage, and in popular culture as part of an enduring myth of romantic love associated with Shakespeare’s play. As a result, we are perhaps far more likely to regard Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” as something that Shakespeare, rather than Juliet, said. Detached from its dramatic context, Juliet’s question can be taken as a prime example of the Bard’s romantic lyricism, or, less reverently, as a piece of romantic sentiment irresistibly ripe for burlesqueperhaps most memorably in Bugs Bunny’s absurdly exaggerated, cross-dressed performance of Juliet’s passion.The modern understanding of Romeo and Juliet as archetypical tragic lovers has been shaped by centuries of performance history and critical commentary, and, more recently, by popular movies and secondary school curricula. Yet Elizabethan audiences might have been surprised to find that they were being asked to regard this pair
From the Publisher
Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, is part of the Barnes & Noble Shakespeare series. This unique series features newly edited texts prepared by leading scholars from America and Great Britain, in collaboration with one of the world’s foremost Shakespeare authorities, David Scott Kastan of Columbia University. Together they have produced texts as faithful as possible to those that Shakespeare wrote.
Each volume in the Barnes & Noble Shakespeare includes:
- New Scholarship Premiere scholars introduce each play with contemporary scholarship. An essay on editing the text provides an in-depth look at the quartos and folios used in the edition.
- Contextualizing Essays Essays on Shakespeare’s England, language, and life, along with essays on performing Shakespeare and significant performances frame the play in both historical and theatrical context for readers. A look at the lasting influence of the play on music, art, film, and dance creates an interdisciplinary framework with which to approach the play.
- Better Notes Through one-word margin definitions, facing-page glosses, and longer end notes after the play, our innovative approach to notes pulls readers away from the text fewer times while providing them with more information and comprehensive analysis.
- Further Reading An annotated bibliography of titles, hand-selected by the introduction author, takes readers beyond the edition for further reading.
When Romeo and Juliet was first performed, its two title characters would have seemed like very unlikely tragic heroes, since they possess no historical importance or political status. The editor, Mario DiGangi, restores the play to its original context, demonstrating in detail how Shakespeare elevated his teenage characters’ plight to make them the most famous tragic couple in literature.
About the Author
William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare