The Winter's Tale is Shakespeare's most fully realized tragicomedy, noted for the richness and complexity of its poetry. Though the title may suggest an escapist fantasy, recent criticism has seen in the play a profoundly realistic psychology and a keen commentary on the violence implicit in family relationships and deep friendships. Orgel traces the changing critical and theatrical attitudes towards the play, and places its psychological and dramatic conflicts within the Jacobean cultural and political context. This edition is made complete with a reprint of Shakespeare's source for the play, Pandosto, by Robert Greene.
Stephen Orgel is Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Humanities at Stanford University.