The Merry Wives of Windsor

This new edition of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor focuses at every point on a theatrical understanding of the play. While emphasising the liveliness of the play in stage terms, David Crane also claims that this citizen comedy needs to be taken much more seriously than in the past, as an expression of Shakespeare’s fundamental understanding of human life, conveyed centrally in the character of Falstaff. In the process he also examines Shakespeare’s free and vigorous use of different linguistic worlds within the play. Together with a freshly edited text, a new account of the play’s textual history is provided. Crane concludes that at the time of its earliest performances Shakespeare’s text was in the process of adaptation to specific theatrical needs, and as much in the possession of its players as of its author.

• Gives the play the kind of serious critical attention it has not received before • Crane pays special attention to theatrical detail, and to Shakespeare’s use of different linguistic registers in the play. • No Arden 3rd edition yet published; estimated publish date 1998


1. Introduction: the date and first occasion of the play; the world of the play; some moments in the play; the play on the stage; 2. Note on the text; 3. List of characters; 4. The play; 5. Textual analysis; 6. Reading list.