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Publishing Perspectives Takes on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”

By Dennis Abrams

As Publishing Perspectives’ epic examination of the plays (and some of the sonnets) of William Shakespeare, The Play’s The Thing, continues on from our in-depth reading of Hamlet, I have to confess that after that epic tragedy, we need a breather. We need a comedy. Something, in the words of Queen Elizabeth at the end of Shakespeare in Love, more cheerful for Twelfth Night.

Indeed, it is time for us to begin Twelfth Night, the play that Harold Bloom calls “the greatest of all Shakespeare’s pure comedies,” and that William Hazlitt called “…the most delightful of Shakespeare’s comedies.” It’s a story of shipwrecks, twins, cross-dressing, mismatched lovers, mistaken identities and much more. As Julian Curry says in Shakespeare on Stage:

“Twelfth Night” is generally considered to be Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy.  It was written around 1601 when he was at the height of his powers, and is a brilliant blend of lyricism, boisterous laughter and bittersweet emotion. The threads of an improbable plot involving male and female identical twins are effortlessly interwoven with searching insights into human nature.  Romantic love, and the pain it can cause, is a major focus of the play. ‘Even so quickly may one catch the plague?’ asks Olivia.

Our reading will begin on Monday, February 11th. We hope you’ll join us.

The reading takes placehere.

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