Synopses & Reviews
Though written near the end of his career, The Tempest stands first in Shakespeare's First Folio of 1623. Recently redefined by modern criticism as a romance, the play has been read as an escapist fantasy, a political allegory, and a celebratory fiction. Most often, however, The Tempest is interpreted as a summary of Shakespeare's view of his own art of playwriting. In this edition, Stephen Orgel reassesses the evidence for each of these critical speculations, and finds the play to be both more open and more historically determined than traditional views have allowed. The text has been newly edited, and includes a stage history of its production, from the radical revisions of Davenant, Dryden, and Shadwell to the recent stagings of Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller, and Peter Brook.
"Densely detailed (yet easy on the eyes), this World's Classics editino of Tempest is far and away the best paperback available." Robert A. Morace, Daemon College
"Densely detailed (yet easy on the eyes), this World's Classics edition of The Tempest is far and away the best paperback available." Robert A. Morace, Daemon College
"A fine edition that combines the clarity I demand of a teaching text with the perspicuity I expect in a research text. In the crowd of serviceable texts thronging the market, Orgel's is a standout." Joseph Lyle, University of Virginia
"Prospero's use of witchcraft to maintain his position as usurper defines the abuse of power that takes the use of the land from the people. This use of witchcraft as a metaphor for the power to usurp the land is, however, only the first step in Shakespeare's electrifying portrayal of the relationship between the body politic and the Catholic church in England..." Lynn Forest-Hill, The Times Literary Supplement
(read the entire Times Literary Supplement review
Performed variously as escapist fantasy, celebratory fiction, and political allegory, "The Tempest" is arguably one of the plays in which Shakespeare's genius as a poetic dramatist found its fullest expression. This edition includes an introduction examining changing attitudes to the play.
About the Author
Stephen Orgel is Professor of English, Stanford University.