With its explorations of sexual ambivalence, As You Like It speaks directly to the twenty-first century. Juliet Dusinberre demonstrates that Rosalind's authority in the play grows from new ideas about women and reveals that Shakespeare's heroine reinvents herself for every age. But the play is also deeply rooted in Elizabethan culture, and through it Shakespeare addresses some of the hotly debated issues of the period. Dusinberre's introduction begins with a brief analysis of the play to preface a vast and thorough exploration of characters, cultural context, sources, setting, staging, literary and legendary influences, themes of love, politics, and gender, and more. Images, illustrations, and a casting and doubling chart appear throughout the introduction and within the five appendices.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.