Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso
This large-format gift edition of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved romantic comedies features an exquisite new frontispiece by the Balbusso twins.
Courtesy of The Balbusso Twins
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comic masterpiece. In the first of a new Folio series, Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is presented in a lavish edition illustrated by the Balbusso twins. Exquisitely bound and sensitively typeset, this edition is a celebration of a timeless work.
In Tudor times, twelfth night was the feast of ‘misrule’ marking the end of Christmas festivities, where the natural order was often turned topsy-turvy. Shakespeare’s plot includes a servant seeking to marry his mistress, women dressed as men and attendant confusions and mistakes – all favourite examples which hark back to the Roman feast of Saturnalia. Shakespeare may well have written the play for a court entertainment performed in 1601 (finding his Duke’s name from the Duke Orsini who had visited court that year). Many commentators believe that his portrait of the killjoy Malvolio was intended to poke fun at the Puritans who disapproved of twelfth night festivities – and indeed of the theatre itself.
From the witty banter of Sir Toby and Maria, the wry commentary of Feste and the foolishness of Sir Andrew, to the emotionally charged moment of the discovery of the twins, this is a play whose range and humour have delighted audiences for centuries, and which remains irresistibly fresh today.
Twin sisters Anna and Elena Balbusso are awarding-winning illustrators who live and work in Milan, Italy. Together they have created many extraordinary images for Folio – including work for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin – and perhaps it is appropriate that they provide the beautiful frontispiece and cover image for this tale of twins. The sisters’ dream-like, surreal illustrations, with their multi-layered meanings and nods to classical art, are the perfect accompaniment to Shakespeare’s play.
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Review by anon on 30th Dec 2016
"I have one volume from the Letterpress Shakespeare collection, and I love the large format style and the clean text presented without dozens of distracting notes on each page (not that notes aren't he..." [read more]