The Two Noble Kinsmen

The Two Noble Kinsmen
Oxford University Press
Shakespeare, William
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Preface, Introduction, The Two Noble Kinsmen


The Royal Shakespeare Company`s choice of `The Two Noble Kinsmen` to open the Swan Theatre in 1986 demonstrated that this long-neglected play has at last come into its own as a stageworthy, humorous, and moving dramatization of the conflicting claims of love and friendship. It was first published in 1654 as `by the memorable worthies of their time, Mr John Fletcher, and Mr William Shakespeare, Gent` and was probably first performed soon after the wedding of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of the company`s patron James I, to the Elector Palatine in February 1615. The exceptionally full Introduction to this edition explains the relevance to the play of ideals of chivalry and of the classical ideal of friendship. The edition (which is illuminatingly illustrated) also offers a discussion of the centuries-long debate about the play`s authorship and a clarification of its stage action.

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