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Dorothy W.

I agree that with Shakespeare it's good to know something about the plot ahead of time -- it helps you follow what's going on but even more so it helps you enjoy the language of the play. There isn't quite so much to take in and figure out all at once.


Dorothy--I think this is one instance where the more information I have the better! I think that even reading only one act a day will be slow going. Still, the intro said (and I'm sure they're right) the more exposure you have the better as the language will be easier! As long as I know what's going on... the rest will come later.


I agree about knowing as much as possible before seeing a performance. I think it maybe my favourite Shakespeare play - Malvolio is magnificent.

Kristen M.

I'll read along this week and we can compare notes next week. I'm excited! I haven't read Shakespeare in a long time and I don't think I've ever read this play before. I will need to get in the language again too. I used to be great at reading Shakespeare. I hope it's easy to pick back up!


Good luck with the play! I know I saw this one at the theatre but it was aeons ago and I've entirely forgotten it. I shall look forward to you jogging my memory!


Good luck with your reading. I haven't read this one before so I will be looking forward to hearing about it from you. I also agree, with Shakepeare I find it's best to have some guide before you set off!


I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs a good introduction and text notes to understand Shakespeare fully. :) In fact, I like having a good introduction to much of what I read. There's always something that I learn from the introduction that I probably would have missed otherwise.


So true, I hate being spoiled but with Shakespeare and some classics it's not a bad thing. Granted, we all probably know at least something about the stories but still.

Have fun with your reading project and looking forward to your thoughts on it.


I haven't read any Shakespeare in a long time. The unfamiliar words/usage can really trip me up, but I enjoy how he turns sentences around. It makes my brain stretch.


I completely understand that about Shakespeare. I bought the collection of Shakespeare's works that Barnes & Noble put out a few years ago so that I could condense all of the smaller plays I had into one place. Then I knew I had to pick up a Shakespeare Reader. Because I know that there will be parts in every work that will have me going, 'um, what?' Just how it is. I have not read Twelfth Night yet. I am eager to know how you like it. :)


BookPlease--It's good to hear you like this play! I think I am going to enjoy seeing it once I finish reading. It sounds like a fun story actually.
Kristen--Sounds good! I have read very little Shakespeare. I read Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet a couple of years ago, and nothing before that since high school! I'm hoping the language gets easier as I go, too.
Litlove--I'd love to see Shakespeare on stage. A very long time ago I saw one play outside in the summer (Shakespeare on the Green), and all I remember is being completely lost and confused. Happy memory, eh? It might have been good to read the play first or at least figure out what the story was about ahead of time. Youth!
Karen--I have a couple of study guides that I plan on making full use of. I wanted to read this at Christmas, but better late than never.
Lisa--I love introductions, too. I tend to wait until I've read the text first (not with Shakespeare though), but I find the extra information very helpful and in some cases extremely enlightening.
Iliana--I think many of his plays are known generally to people and so many of them have been redone in modern films, which is sort of helpful (and fun). This is one case where I don't mind knowing the outcome before reading! :)
Jeane--The words trip me up, too. Thank heavens for the notes. The intro did a good job of explaining how he would change the order of his sentences and it's sort of fun taking a long passage and trying to figure out a different order (where it makes more sense--even if it doesn't sound as pretty). It is a nice challenge!


I wrote a paper on Twelfth Night in school and got the names all wrong. Malvolio, Viola, and Olivia morphed into variations of the same name. (I am a terrible speller.)
The instuctor generously pointed out that I made Viola and Olivia less and more evolved variations of the same strong character and Malviola (sic) worked as bad Viola. :D

Personally I love seeing a play first, then reading it for further richness of the language. Good luck with this play.


I'm so glad you're doing this! 12th Night is a lovely play. I think you will get past the language -- which is really just a question of adjusting to reading with footnote help -- and then you will be home free to enjoy the first of many remarkable explorations of what it means to love well (which basically means to begin by loving badly and then be thrust into a world that's been turned upside down somehow, and then to see more clearly who you are and how you should love properly). All the comedies enact some version of that basic plot, and they are each little miracles in the way they go about telling this same story.

I'm looking forward to hearing your reaction. xo


Last year when I was working my way through Shakespeare's plays, I watched as many movies of them as I could find after I had done a read-along with the BBC productions, which are pretty faithful to the text. My favorite movie version was the one with Imogen Stubbs as Viola and Helena Bonham Carter as Olivia.

I recently saw a university production of it that was absolutely wonderful. It's a great play!


Christy--I can see where the names would be confusing. Thankfully this is just for me, so I don't need to write a paper later! Good thing your instructor had a good sense of humor! And I should trying watching first and reading after, too. I plan on reading more than just this one this year, though, so there'll be time to experiment.
Lily--Oh, you describe it so beautifully. I like that Shakespeare had one (well maybe several) themes that he simply varied. It's nice being able to see how he did this from play to play. And I love the idea of a play about love turned upside down but then set to rights again.
Jane--Someday I am going to make my way through them all as well, though I expect it is going to take quite a while for me. I plan on watching exactly that version--hopefully this weekend!

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