Cover of: Romeo and Juliet | William Shakespeare

Contributors

  • Introduction
    William Hazlitt

About the Book

Set during five of the most intensely dramatic days ever portrayed, ROMEO AND JULIET was probably written in 1594 or 1595, and first published in a 1597 edition, as transcribed by actors who had performed it. Other editions appeared later, but even the more authoritative versions, such as that of 1599--probably drawn from Shakespeare's own manuscript copies--lack the detailed stage directions present in the actors' transcription; thus, modern editions incorporate several sources. ROMEO AND JULIET is among the most oft performed of Shakespeare's works, and it has been among the most beloved since its earliest days on the stage. Though the title page of the 1597 edition declares that ROMEO AND JULIET had been performed and enjoyed many times prior to its publication, the first extant direct record of the events of a production refer to a 1662 staging, in which the play was probably adapted or altered--adaption was particularly popular in the 17th century. One London stage ran different conclusions on alternative nights; audiences who went home glum on Friday could be uplifted by the play's ending if they returned on Saturday night. The story of ROMEO AND JULIET was derived by Shakespeare from many sources. The version most contemporary to his own was the 1562 poem "The Tragicall History of Romeus and Iuliet" by Arthur Brooke, which itself was an adaptation of a French piece by Pierre Boaistuau, which Boaistuau had adapted from the Italian. Indeed, aspects of the tragic story have recurred throughout Western literature since at least the third century. Shakespeare greatly intensified the pace by compressing a piece which had unfolded over the course of several months into the space of five days--a period in which much transpires at daybreak, including the famous balcony scene where Romeo declares, "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?/It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." Romeo is forced to approach Juliet in secret because of the impassioned rivalry between his family, the Montagues--and Juliet's, the Capulets. Despite the intensity of their family's mutual disdain, the young lovers strive to marry. However, fate intervenes to keep them apart, and, when the Montagues and Capulets discover the folly of their ways, it's too late for Romeo and Juliet.

About the Edition

"The permanent popularity, now of mythic intensity, of Romeo and Juliet is more than justified," writes eminent scholar Harold Bloom, "since the play is the largest and most persuasive celebration of romantic love in Western literature."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) based his early romantic tragedy on Arthur Brooke's 1562 poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet. Shakespeare's resulting masterpiece, in turn, has inspired countless retellings around the world in mediums that include literature, dance, stage, and screen.

"It is Shakespeare all over, and Shakespeare when he was young, "declares William Hazlitt )1778-1830), acclaimed British essayist and critic, in his exuberant Introduction to this Modern Library edition.
(front flap)

Edition Notes

US/CAN

Genre
Drama.
Copyright Date
2001

Classifications

Dewey Decimal Class
822.3/3
Library of Congress
PR2831 .A1 2001

The Physical Object

Format
Hardcover
Pagination
xvii, 101 p. ;
Number of pages
101

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL3943751M
Internet Archive
romeojuliet00shak_5
ISBN 10
067964220X
ISBN 13
9780679642206
LC Control Number
2001025336
OCLC/WorldCat
1036852248
Amazon.com
067964220X
Library Thing
2225
Goodreads
429078
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History

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August 19, 2019 Edited by Lisa Edited without comment.
March 22, 2019 Edited by Lisa Added new cover
October 25, 2018 Edited by Lisa Added edition details.
December 27, 2016 Edited by Darby Added new cover
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Scriblio MARC record.