Shakespeare’s later comedies were written at the astonishing pace of about two plays a year. In them, he moves beyond the farce of his earlier comedies to richer and more varied dramas. These range from the famous “problem plays,” which blend humor with tragedy, to the idyllic romances set in such timeless locales as the Forest of Arden. They contain some of his wittiest and most memorable characters, from cross-dressing heroines, bantering lovers, and wisecracking fools to the villainous but sympathetic Shylock and the boisterous and bawdy Falstaff.
This volume contains The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure. The authoritatively edited text of the plays is supplemented with footnotes, bibliographies, a detailed chronology of Shakespeare’s life and times, and a substantial introduction in which Tony Tanner discusses each play individually and in the context of Shakespeare’s work.