Item description for Timon of Athens - Arden Shakespeare (The Arden Shakespeare) by H J Oliver...
The Arden Shakespeare is the established edition of Shakespeare's work. Justly celebrated for its authoritative scholarship and invaluable commentary, Arden guides you a richer understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's plays. This edition of Timon of Athens provides, a clear and authoritative text, detailed notes and commentary on the same page as the text, a full introduction discussing the critical and historical background to the play and appendices presenting sources and relevant extracts.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.7" Width: 4.7" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 1969
ISBN 1903436656 ISBN13 9781903436653
Reviews - What do customers think about Timon of Athens - Arden Shakespeare (The Arden Shakespeare)?
Scandalously underrated Feb 13, 2001
Timon, a wealthy, generous Athenian, is a man who never hesitates to help his friends in need. However, when he falls in dire straits and is forced to sell his property, he is deserted by all those who know him. Afflicted with a venomous hatred of mankind, he retreats into the forest, adopts a diet of roots and denounces his fellow humans in soliloquies of the most towering passion and most bitter invective. "Timon of Athens" should rank amongst Shakespeare's greatest and most renowned tragedies. It is a mature work, displaying much linguistic virtusoity, charm of expression and highly imaginative images and allegories. It is hard to imagine why so many critics are dead-set against acknowledging it for the masterpiece it is. It possibly contains the direst abuse of human fickleness and folly and the most nihilistic (and most moving) yearning for death and extinction on the part of the maligned Timon. The real stealer of the play, however, is Timon's foil, the philosopher, Apemantus. Embodying the most systematic misanthrophy, he smilingly and scornfully looks on Timon's open-handedness during his days of prosperity. Their encounter later in the forest is one of the most gripping of confrontations in literary history, containing some of the most exciting exchanges and the most inflammatory put-downs. A sadly unrecognised masterpiece.
VERY UNDERRATED Mar 5, 2000
Many people feel that this play of Shakespeare's is either unfinished or a poor effort. But I do not think this is accurate or fair. The reality is that many people can never find a middle ground. It is actually (in my opinion) quite common for people to only be able to see things from one extreme or the other. Despite Apemantus' cynical nature, there is no denying that whatever his faults are, HE DOES HAVE RIGHT ON HIS SIDE when he tells Timon: "The middle of humanity thou never knewest,/ but the extremity of both ends...." (4.3.342-343). Critics also tend to think Apemantus is unlikable, but are we missing a crucial point? I can not help but think Shakespeare is commenting on the fact that more people DON'T have a concept of reality. Apemantus refuses to join in the delight when Timon thinks highly of his false friends. Apemantus is aware of reality and no one wants to hear it. In my opinion Timon and Apemantus are VERY TRUE to life. In addition, the roll of Flavius is very touching. He can not dessert his master even when he knows (or thinks) Timon has nothing. Finally, I can not over estimate the mastery of Shakespeare when first Timon has money, he can not do enough for his so called friends and when he has nothing they dessert him. When Timon through fate gains a second fortune, he does not turn back into what he was, but rather he uses his 2nd fortune to destroy Athens. It is interesting that Shakespeare derived this play on the legend of 'Timon the Manhater,' and decides to take it a step further and show how he got there. And how much more realistic could Shakespeare have made this than by first showing Timon as a 'manlover?' Many people feel Timon should have somehow found the middle of humanity, but if he had, that would have defeated the whole purpose of this excellent play.
Arkangel Timon of Athens a fine production Feb 25, 2000
Among the least performed of all the Shakespeare plays, is probably the most disturbing. In the beginning, Timon is (not to put too fine a point on it) stupidly philanthropic; in the end he is equally misanthropic. When Timon is on top of the world, we have the cynical Apemantus to be our voice and let him know what a fool he is. In the last two acts, we simply wish (I do, at least) that our hero would stop complaining and let us "pass and stay not here," as he would have all men do in his epitaph.
But a recording is to be judged on its performances, not so much on its text. The Arkangel series, now in its last laps toward completion before (I am told) it is all redone on CDs, has every reason to be proud of its "Timon of Athens," thanks to its strong and intelligent readings. The opening scenes of artisans and poets building up the play's themes of wheel-of-fortune and gratitude/ingratitude are almost intelligible without a text open before you. Alan Howard, whom I saw in New York long ago as Henry V and as the main character in "Good," has that kind of friendly voice that is so well suited to the extravagant Timon in the open acts that we feel all the more for him when his false friends deny him in his need.
The snarling voice of Norman Rodway's Apemantus is a perfect counterpoint, and he casts out his invective in those early scenes with a hint of humor. However, when Timon becomes the misanthrope, his voice darkens and coarsens; and it is very hard to tell it from Apemantus' in their overly-long exchange of curses in 4:3. If the actor playing Alcibiades (Damian Lewis) sounds far too young for the role, that is a minor quibble--and perhaps the director wanted him to sound like a young Timon.
The incidental music sounds sufficiently Greek but too modern; still, Ingratitude knows no particular time period. A superior production of a much flawed play and a very welcome addition to any collection of recorded drama, especially since the old Decca set is long out of print and Harper audio does not yet have a "Timon" in their series.
Very good, I just wish he had finished it! Sep 28, 1999
It's unfortunate that TIMON OF ATHENS was never finished, because it could have ranked with Shakespeare's best. There is certainly enough excellent writing to make this play worthwhile, but beware, there are poorly fleshed-out characters, jarring speeches, and undeveloped themes. Still, amidst the chaos is a very poignant story of a man who learns what just about every character in every Shakespeare play eventually learns: "there's no art to find the mind's construction in the face."
The Arden edition is especially rcommended. Editor H.J. Oliver takes the Arden's usual conservative approach to emendations of the text, and gives clear notes to difficult passages. One of the best in the Arden series.
Dionysian Disorder Jul 24, 1999
Timon of Athens has often been thought the work of a madman. Disjointed, polemical, irrational, and downright inelegant, many have thought that Shakespeare (or whosoever it may be) suffered a mental breakdown. These and other factors culimate in what I believe to be a tragic under-appreciation of this play.
This play is NOT the story of a naively generous soul who eventually "faces reality". This is instead the story of a glorious Dionysian self-expender, who, upon realizing the cowardly conservatism of his so-called "peers", runs off to the wilds, to lavishly waste himself in body and soul. He dies on a curse, the climax of all the "evil wind" he has been sending out, the ultimate dissipation, his ultimate glory. The "tragedy" of the play is the cold stone tablet that lies atop his corpse at the end, and the message of frugality it seems to espouse.