E. Nesbit – Twelfth Night Retold by E. Nesbit

Shakespeare’s play adapted by renowned children’s author E. Nesbit into an enjoyable and easily accessible short story perfect for students and children.
Author: E. Nesbit
Narrator: Matt Stewart
Duration: 14 minutes
Released: 19 Jan 2010
Publisher: Lark Audiobooks
Language: English

User Review:

pastiche illegal

Our reasons are not prophets
When oft our fancies are.
William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen

This play sits next to ‘Pericles, The Two Gentlemen of Verona’, ‘Henry VIII’, and ‘Cymbeline’ as one of my least favorite Shakespeare plays. Ugh. I’m not a fan of Shakespeare’s collaborations (see ‘Henry VIII’) plus ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’ is also just a bit boring.

The story is losely based on Chauser’s ‘A Knight’s Tale’, but Shakespeare puts the two cousin’s in love with one woman and sets the story in Athens and Thebes. I think the failing of this tragedy stems from, surprisingly, the inability of the play to convince me (the reader) in the transformation of the cousins from noble cousins to jealous dicks. There just isn’t a strong enough catelyst. My other major beef with the play, is there isn’t enough Shakespeare in it. Not enough amazing lines. Not enough dance to the English.

Most scholars agree on the following division in the play:

Prologue – Fletcher
Act 1 – Shakespeare
Act 2.1 – Shakespeare
Act 2.2-2.6 Fletcher
Act 3.1-3.2 Shakespeare
Act 3 Fletcher
Act 4 Fletcher
Act 5.1 Shakespeare
Act 5.2 Fletcher
Act 5.3-5.4 Shakespeare
Epilogue – Fletcher

There is some disagreement about whether Shakespeare or Fletcher wrote the first 33 lines of Act 5. Think about THAT. That is Biblical level exegesis when scholars, nearly 400 years after the fact are still disputing a page of lines of a VERY minor play. That level of byzantine back and forth is worthy of a play, or at least a narrative poem.