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As You Like It

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  67,968 ratings  ·  1,742 reviews
The acclaimed Pelican Shakespeare series edited by A. R. Braunmuller and Stephen Orgel

The legendary Pelican Shakespeare series features authoritative and meticulously researched texts paired with scholarship by renowned Shakespeareans. Each book includes an essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare's time, an introduction to the individual play, and a detailed note
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Paperback, 105 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published 1599)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Madeline
Sep 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Just saw this last night at the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta. So, naturally, here's...

As You Like It, abridged:

OLIVER: Hi everyone, I'm Oliver and I'll be your designated jackass for the evening.
ORLANDO: Hey bro! So, remember how you got me to wrestle that unbeatable guy and were all like, "he's so gonna kill you, mwahaha"? Well, I totally kicked his ass AND met this hot chick Rosalind. Man, it's great to be me!
OLIVER: OMG IMMA KEEL YOU!
ORLANDO: *runs*
ROSAL
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Bill Kerwin

As in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Hamlet" and "Antony and Cleopatra," Shakespeare in "As You Like It" is able to join disparate elements in unusual proportion into a unified whole of tone and mood which may be rationalized but never completely explained. What I love about this play is the way in which it develops a conventionally suspenseful plot--complete with goodies and baddies, action-packed scuffles and wrestling matches, lovers "meeting cute," etc.--at breakneck speed for all of the firs
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Henry Avila
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Orlando, the youngest, and most loved son of the late Sir Rowland de Boys, ( set in France in the 16th Century) is being mistreated by his older brother Oliver, the middle son Jaques, is away at school, since Oliver inherited most of the rich estate, and money, he has the power of the purse to do anything . He, Oliver is jealous of his sibling's superior attributes, Orlando lacks education, possessions, totally dependent on his brother, but the very simpatico boy's qualities, nevertheless shines ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
As you like it, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), c 1623
Characters: Main Characters:
The Court of Duke Frederick: Duke Frederick, Duke Senior's younger brother and his usurper, also Celia's father. Rosalind, Duke Senior's daughter. Celia, Duke Frederick's daughter and Rosalind's cousin. Touchstone, a court fool or jester. Le Beau, a courtier. Charles, a wrestler. Lords and ladies in Duke Frederick's court.
The Household of the deceased Sir Rowland de Boys: Oliver de Boys, the eldest son and heir. Jacq/>
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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
I was at Shakespeare’s Globe in London yesterday watching this play and it was fab! I then came home and read it (got to love the literary life!)

The best thing about the performance was the fact that Orlando was played by a woman who was less that five feet tall and Rosalind was played by a man was way over six feet tall. Needless to say, this lead to many comic moments. Here’s some shots of the performance:

I was at Shakespeare’s Globe in London yesterday watching this play and it was fab! I then came home and read it (got to love the literary life!)

The best thing about the performance was the fact that Orlando was played by a woman who was less that five feet tall and Rosalind was played by a man was way over six feet tall. Needless to say, this lead to many comic moments. Here’s some shots of the performance:

description
-Orlando & Rosalind

description

They only had to stand next to each other on the stage for the audience to burst out laughing.

The play displays much of what Shakespeare does best. There are explorations into gender politics and sexuality because of the layers added into the play; there are men playing female characters who then in turn pretend to be men, which makes it even more complex. As with most of his comedies, I find the magic of the work is lost on the page. These are plays that are meant to be performed!

Unlike many of Shakespeare’s plays, even the comedies, this was very light and breezy. Nobody died. Nobody suffered. And the ending was a mass matchmaking that only left me feeling warm inside. It’s an entertaining piece to watch, though once you’ve got your head round the plot it won’t make you think any further.

It is a funny piece, but not quite as good as Twelfth Night and I think it suffered a little with a background cast of pretty standard Shakespearean characters rather than standout personalities.

Certainly not his best comedy, though it is still quite fun!

description
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James
Book Review
3 of 5 stars to As You Like It, a pastoral comedy and play written by William Shakespeare around 1599.

Rosalind falls for Orlando for many reasons in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Since Orlando is such a small man compared to Charles the wrestler, when Orlando beats Charles, Rosalind thinks that the “young man” is capable of great strength and survival despite his small frame. He has some hidden strength and power that he is able to fight up and beat his large opponent. He is such a f
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Ted
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2+

Hm. Tried to resubmit this review earlier and all that happened was that it was posted that I'd just finished reading the play?!? Two years ago! What gives?

This is the second review of a Shakespeare play I’ve done. Happily, that means that I’ve read the second of my planned reads of all his plays, over the next ten years. So I’m on schedule. 8)

But it’s easy to be on schedule when you’ve barely started. 8/

Naturally, this review is structured a bit different from the first one I did (3 1/2+

Hm. Tried to resubmit this review earlier and all that happened was that it was posted that I'd just finished reading the play?!? Two years ago! What gives?

This is the second review of a Shakespeare play I’ve done. Happily, that means that I’ve read the second of my planned reads of all his plays, over the next ten years. So I’m on schedule. 8)

But it’s easy to be on schedule when you’ve barely started. 8/

Naturally, this review is structured a bit different from the first one I did (
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) in which I posed questions about how I should go about this project, and played around with a sort of outline. In this one the outline has changed. We’ll see if it can become more permanent as it goes.

The Play

Like the first play I read, this is one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Evidence suggests that the play was written between June 1599 and August of the next year. Its first performance is uncertain, with 1603 a possibility. It was first published in the first folio in 1623.

Shakespeare took the story from a novel, Rosalynde, by one Thomas Lodge, that was first published in 1590.
Rosalynde was the most popular and one of the best of the pastoral romantic tales which were the fashion in the early 1590s. By 1598 the book was in its fourth edition. The story was thus likely to be well known to many in the original audience. Shakespeare followed his source fairly closely, though he added some characters of his own and changed most of the names.

As hinted above, it’s sometimes referred to as a “pastoral” comedy, where pastoral refers to a literary genre: pas•to•ral noun. A work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life.

As You Like It is one of the prime examples of pastoral literature. Whyso? Well, with the exception of three scenes, it takes place outside. The first two scenes are located in an orchard, and on a lawn. All remaining scenes (seventeen of them) are located in the “Forest of Arden”, near the geographical center of England***. There are actually a couple rather minor characters who are shepherds. And the view of life presented is certainly, if not quite idyllic, at least explicitly said more than once by the characters to be preferable to life in the courts, castles, etc. which are the other choice.

Of course this might be partly because several of the characters have been banished (unjustly) from those courts, castles, etc. by the play’s villains. So to some extent, Shakespeare tells a story about making the best out of a bad situation.

(***Note: This “Forest of Arden” may be a pun of Shakespeare’s? For elsewhere I see that the play is actually set in France, and if so, we might suppose that this also refers not only to the forest in England familiar to his audience, but also to the Adrennes region of present day Luxembourg/Belgium/France.)



The Forest of Arden (1888 - 1897, possibly reworked 1908), Albert Pinkham Ryder

But he also makes a case for the country life, especially through the character Jaques, a lord attending the Duke who has been banished, and has taken residence in the forest with his followers. Jaques plays almost NO PART in the play, other than to speak his lines, which offer his philosophical musings and opinions about the pastoral life and other human concerns beyond the mundane.

Jaques in fact represents, according to the Introduction in my edition, a break in Shakespeare’s main concern in his plays. “Hitherto he had balanced plot and character. Henceforward he was more interested in character, and he tended to pick out one or two persons in a play and to show their characters from every angle by bringing them into contact with a variety of persons and situations.”

This was totally new information to me, and one worth keeping in mind (assuming that it’s valid).

The twenty plays prior to As You Like It were: all the histories (ten) except Henry VIII (his last play); seven of the twelve comedies; only two tragedies (Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet); and only one of the six problem plays (Merchant of Venice).

The eighteen plays coming after As You Like It: the one history, four comedies (Twelfth Night, Merry Wives, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure), the other eight tragedies, and the other five problem plays.


The Play and I

I immediately realized that I knew absolutely nothing about this play. Despite the title being familiar, I’d never read it, and had no idea that it is from this play (and from the mouth of Jaques) that comes:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like a pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered Pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
What can follow that? Yeah, the rest of the play. But I’ll leave it there. For a synopsis of the play, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_You_L...

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the play. I’ve rated it slightly above Midsummer Night’s Dream (well, 3 1/2 to 3 1/2 at present, but 4 to 3 in stars). I’m sure the reason was that I was paying attention to Jaques and some of the other characters for their views on country living, on love, and on man’s rather unfortunate predicament in life (though in the context of the light-hearted play it doesn’t seem so bad).

The comedy of the play is comprised partly of the fact that the main female protagonist, Rosalind, is disguised as a man (Ganymede) throughout much of the play; her interactions with Orlando, desperately in love with Rosalind but not of course with Ganymede, are the source of the usual mistaken-identity humor. But much more than this is the repartee that Shakespeare provides between pairs of characters (Rosalind/Celia, Orlando/Jaques etc.) in scene after scene, overloaded to the point of bursting with puns and double entendres. The audience must have been rolling in the aisles. But these dialogues, hard enough for the modern reader to follow with her footnotes explaining archaic meanings and long lost turns of phrase, are impossible for a play goer to get much out of – yes, the smile is there on the face, but the guffaw is missing. (A problem for any of Shakespeare’s comedy writing, of course.)

But some of the humor can’t fail to come through. I really did laugh out loud at this exchange. Rosalind implores Celia about information on Orlando, who Celia has just said she’s met in the forest:
ROS. Alas the day! What shall I do with my doublet and hose? What did he when thou sawest him? What said he? How looked he? Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where remains he? How parted he with thee? And when shalt thou see him again? Answer me in one word!
CEL. You must borrow me Gargantua’s mouth first. ‘Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age’s size. To say aye and no to these particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.
(My emphasis.) Heck, Celia’s reply isn’t even necessary, though it does put a lovely phrase to the preposterousness of Rosalind’s command.


The play and thee (them really)

My Coleridge book (Coleridge’s Writings on Shakespeare) has naught but a bit of marginalia he wrote on Oliver’s speech to the wrestler Charles, as Oliver gives him permission, even an admonition, to kill his brother (Orlando) when he faces him in a match. Coleridge: “It is too venturous to charge a speech in Shakespeare with want of truth to nature. And yet …” I won’t bother quoting the rest, I’m not sure I understand the fineness of the point he makes.

Here’s a couple reviews by GR friends: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (short) and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (longer, on Shakespeare’s use of Nature in the play).

In the play’s Wiki article, there are adaptations of As You Like It in several media mentioned here.


A Movie

I watched the 1936 film starring Laurence Olivier as Orlando and Elizabeth Bergner as Rosalind. When I finally finished reading the play and was ready to watch the DVD, which had been at my house from Netflix for months, I discovered that the disc was cracked. I should have taken this as a warning. Instead I searched Amazon and found that I could watch the same movie streaming at no cost (since I’m a Prime member).

I happily settled back to watch.

How do I loath thee?

Let me count the ways.


1. I had trouble understanding the dialogue. Not because of the Elizabethan language, the sound was just bad.

2. It didn’t even approach being funny. All the (admittedly difficult) dialogue that had them rolling in the aisles hundreds of years ago was gone, even the few lines that were quite readily humorous in our own age.

3. All the world’s a stage … was gone! Howso? Must have been a cost-cutting measure, because Jaques had been written out of the script.

4. But almost all of the songs written by the Bard for the play were there, set to insipid music and even crappy dance where that had been indicated in the play. (As You Like It the Musical)

Yup, it was a complete loss. If the DVD hadn’t been already busted I would have been tempted …

(Well, not a complete loss. Olivier was good.)


My Review

As you have already read it, I hope you Like It.
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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Definitely one of favourites. Loved it.
Manny
Celebrity Death Match Special: As You Like It versus Generic Thriller

All the world’s a thriller,
And all the men and women cardboard characters;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And when you think they've gone, pop up again.
Sometimes they've got a twin, and sometimes more
Their death, ofttimes, is faked or not for real
Two different babes may turn out to be one
Or else one babe, mayhap, can yet be two
And so the plot creaks on, and stiffs pile up
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Darwin8u
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shakespeare, drama, 2017
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:"

-- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7

description

'As You Like It' has many things to commend it as a play. It is entertaining and filled with fantastic lines. It contains many of Shakespeare's favorite tropes: gender bending, mistaken/hidden identities, family squabbles/usurpation, love/lust, revenge, etc. It starts off well too -- but in the end, for me, it just sort of fizzles and farts out a bit. Limps out, perhaps, is a better way of statin
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The fun of Shakespeare's comedies isn't in the plots but in the pure genius of his language. Many of his best lines have become such staples of common usage that most people aren't even aware they're quoting Shakespeare. If they DO know, you can forget about asking them which plays the lines come from.

I find an intensely perverse pleasure in Shakespeare's inventive insults. I can only DREAM of thinking up such clever quips and comebacks in the heat of an argument. And if I could think them up, I wou
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Kelly
Jun 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare people, obvs
I just saw this play for the first time since college, at the Shakespeare Theater here in DC. I've never really known what to say about it, to be honest. I know all the hype surrounding Rosalind, and I agree with it. It's a really excellent part for any actress, and I love that the play is structured entirely around her. The play even offers the rare pretty great supporting part for a woman in Celia. There's Jacques, the odd and amusing duck who doesn't ever quite fit, and a surprisingly large a ...more
Lyn
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Another very enjoyable and entertaining play by The Bard.

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

Also another very influential work as it is apparent how many romantic comedies over the years have borrowed liberally from this classic tale.

“Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.”

Rosalind is also pro
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Wanda
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.


I am always charmed when I go to see a Shakespearean play and hear familiar phrases. As You Like It certainly has its share of those.

A cinema chain near me offers showings of the National Theatre (London) on a regular basis and I went this week for my first experience of this play. As expected, I enjoyed it
...more
Joe Valdez
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
To celebrate William Shakespeare on his birthday in April, my plan was to locate a staging of six plays. I'll listen to and watch these on my MacBook, following along to as much of the original text as is incorporated by the production. Later, I'll read the entire play in the modern English version. A good friend I've had since high school recommended this system to me and it's been a very good system for delighting the mind in Shakespeare.

As You Like It was entered in the Stationers' Register in 1600. Some schShakespeare.
As
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David Sarkies
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love Shakespeare
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: comedy
A pastoral comedy with shades of Robin Hood
24 December 2014

Back when I first read this play for university English I didn't think all that much of it because I had simply thrown it in with that collection of boring Shakespearian plays called 'The Comedy's' (not that I found all of the comedy's boring, just most of them because there were, in my opinion, simply romantic comedy's which me, as a young adult male, really didn't appreciate). However, it wasn't until later when the theatre group that a couple
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Bruce
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This play, one of my favorites, is an exploration of love using the contrasts between court and country, artifice and nature, guile and innocent simplicity. Various pairs of lovers are contrasted, the most important protagonist being Rosalind. The norm is blank verse, usually unrhymed. Gender roles are explored and exploited; for example, Rosalind, played of course in Elizabethan drama by a boy, masquerades in the play as a man with whom a woman falls in love and whom a man allows to pretend tha ...more
Brian
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The new RSC Modern Library Editions of the plays are a quality trade paperback edition of the works of Shakespeare.
“As You Like It” in this series contains a short, but insightful Introduction by Jonathan Bate. In it he makes a lovely point that although it reeks of modern influences (taking the play out of context) I had never thought to consider.
This is a Shakespeare play that I did not much care for when I first read it years ago, but I have since become quite fond of. It is one o
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Dominic
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to reading/viewing Shakespeare, I usually like mine cooked on the tragic side. I love a dark, brooding hero. I love Shakespearean angst. And it doesn't quite feel like Shakespeare if there aren't a few dead bodies strewn about the stage by the end of the fifth act.

Yet it is oh so hard to resist Rosalind and the entire comedic premise of As You Like It. Instead of dark brooding, Rosalind offers jest and wit and freedom. She never whines or is somber, at least not for very l
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Cindy Rollins
This is one of my favorites. It is a hymn to marriage with much poetry, song, and general fun.

I also LOVE Kenneth Branagh's film version-one of my favorite adaptations of all time.

Coming on the heels of Much Ado, you can see that Shakespeare is writing in a time of his life when word play, wit and romance figure greatly.

Of course, the next play is Hamlet-not quite so airy.


UPDATE on AUDIO: Don't listen to the audio if you do not know the play. Because of the girl p
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Melora
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
I waffled a bit between three and four stars with this, but honesty requires three to reflect my actual enjoyment. One of the better comedies, but there are only a few of those that I really like. I listened to the L.A. Theatre Works audio performance of this along with my reading, and, while the songs were beautifully done, Rosalind's emoting was irritating in its excess.
Arybo ✨
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
Roy Lotz
As You Like It is unquestionably my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies. This is mostly due to the love story being, for once, rather enjoyable. In the majority of Shakespeare’s works I find the romantic relationships to be, at best, an easy engine to move the plot along, or a ready vehicle for the poet’s sallies. Seldom do I find myself in sympathy with the lover or the beloved, mostly because Shakespeare’s most lovable or fascinating characters—King Lear, Iago, Hamlet, Falstaff—are usually not of ...more
Puck
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools.”

This is such a charming summertime comedy, and text-wise one of the easiest to understand if you’re first getting into Shakespeare.
All kinds of lovers are lost in the woods – lovers at first sight, pining lovers, lovers that playfully challenge each other – and just as the trees and flowers bloom everywhere, everyone’s emotions are all over the place.

“We that are true lovers run into strange capers. But as all is
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B. P. Rinehart
"I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good."


Wow, okay. I am trying to wrap my feelings around this play. I liked this play, but make no mistake, this was not written for any reason but to earn a quick dollar or pound. The dialogue and speeches in this rom-com is standard Shakespeare, and I am glad because this plot is a weak recycle of one (and I think two) play(s). I am not a lover of romantic comedies, but I like Shakespearean language enough to indulge in his rom-coms. In my mind, The"I
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Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Full disclosure: Saw a performance rather than reading the script. Rated it anyway.
leynes
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ummmm ... this is kind of Shakespeare's most ridiculous play and, shockingly, I am not here for it. What is wrong with me? Ya'll know that I have impeccable bad taste and love me some trashy plot, but I think I actually found something that is too trashy for my liking. Believe me, I'm disgusted with myself.

As You Like It is one huge clusterfuck and I honestly shouldn't even be surprised. Willie Shakes often channeled his "big dick" energy in his comedies, showing off that he basically gave no fuc
...more
Sophie Janet
"Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might: 'Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?'"

There is quite a lot of romance here! Far more love stories than I have ever read in one play before. Or novel, for that matter.

I love William Shakespeare. He is so clever, so witty, so innovative. (Fun fact: did you know we owe many word-inventions to him, including "upstairs" and "downstairs?") The things we can tip our hat in thanks toward him for!

And yet, this love doesn't feel like lov
...more
Ben
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-lit, plays
This play has left me with more questions than pleasant emotions or kindly insights. Yes, one must credit Shakespeare with an entertaining "romantic comedy" but also chide him, just a bit, for leaving much to the audience member's disquiet. Rarely have I felt such a lack of resolution in such a neatly resolved story.

I quickly lauded Shakespeare's literary construction around the concepts of Nature and Fortune and their relationship to each other. The play begins with a stage set with
...more
Alan
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For environmental buffs, as well as theater fans, here 'tis: Shakespeare for jocks, especially wrestlers; Exile in the forest improves those banished, while the misanthropist Jacques gives the Bard's usual (midpoint in play) Great Speech,
including the poetical description of babe in arms, "Mewling and puking," which I've quoted whenever someone says the author's too poetic for them:
" All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and the
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Bard a Month ...: As You Like It - Resources 1 3 Apr 03, 2018 01:16PM  
The Bard a Month ...: As You Like It - Recordings & Adaptations 1 3 Apr 03, 2018 01:15PM  
The Bard a Month ...: As You Like It - General Discussion 1 4 Apr 03, 2018 01:14PM  
The Library Lived In: As You Like It - Oct 2016 14 4 Nov 10, 2016 05:50PM  
Thomas like it like this that doesn't 1 11 Sep 28, 2015 12:32AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternative Book Cover 2 13 Aug 05, 2014 12:05AM  
The Heroine as Hero 1 27 Jul 06, 2014 05:00PM  

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34,095 followers
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” 42636 likes
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
4242 likes
More quotes…