Synopses & Reviews
All's Well that Ends Well receives, in this new edition, the full reconsideration for which it is overdue. After a long theatrical and critical history marked by avoidance and simplification, the play's dislocations of desire and clashing ideologies of class and gender are made newly accessible to readers, performers, and audiences. All's Well that Ends Well found little favor in the infrequent productions of earlier centuries, and was drastically reshaped by Garrick toward farce and by Kemble toward purity and pathos. But artists of recent decades such as Guthrie, Moshinsky, and Nunn have used the very discords of style and genre once seen as defects as sources of theatrical power and complexity, just as critics from various perspectives--feminist, sociological, generic, psychological--have found new value and pertinence in a play that is itself a deconstructed fairy tale. Susan Snyder's Introduction makes a distinguished contribution to criticism of the play, and the edition, offering freshly considered text, is fully and helpfully annotated.
Often classed as a "problem comedy", this play presents an aggressive, designing woman and a reluctant husband wooed by trickery. Frequently oversimplified in the past, recent productions have revealed how it penetrates both social and personal issues. This edition explores its clashing ideologies.
Usually classified as a "problem comedy," All's Well that Ends Well is a psychologically disturbing presentation of an aggressive, designing woman and a reluctant husband wooed by trickery. In her introduction Susan Snyder makes the play's clashing ideologies of class and gender newly accessible, and offers a fully reconsidered, annotated text for both readers and actors.
About the Author
Susan Snyder is Gil and Frank Mustin Professor of English Literature, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.