The Letterpress As You Like It
Limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies
Shakespeare’s ground-breaking comedy: unconventional and witty, it is the most playful of romances.
Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
- Act 1, Sc. 2
Celia and Rosalind are two of Shakespeare’s most appealing heroines. Their banter is infectious, whether Celia is teasing Rosalind about her love, ‘I found him under a tree, like a dropped acorn’, or Rosalind provoking Orlando ‘like a saucy lackey’. This sparkling new comedy written for the new Globe included songs, special effects and parts tailor-made for new actors. It is presumed that the company had gained a talented young actor for whom the part of Rosalind was written, for the character is given over one quarter of the play’s lines. Roger Armin was the company's new clown and Touchstone his first role, while Shakespeare himself is supposed to have acted the part of Adam.
On the surface, As You Like It is a conventional pastoral romance, with improbable conversions, fallings in love and even the unexpected appearance of the God of Marriage. Yet underneath, the play is more complex - nowhere does Shakespeare push the comic possibilities of cross-dressing to such extremes: a boy dressed as a woman dressed as a man pretending to be a woman. An undercurrent of realism in Audrey and Touchstone's earthy liaison and the sarcastic presence of Jaques undercut pastoral idealism without interfering with the playfulness of Shakespeare’s illusions. Then as now, theatre-goers leaving the Globe would notice the sign, Totus mundus agit histrionem – all the world’s a player.
Limited to 3,750 hand-numbered copies
Hand-bound in goatskin leather, blocked in gold with hand-marbled paper sides
Gilded top edge, ribbon marker
16pt 'Monotype' Baskerville, with Caslon display
Set in hot metal and printed letterpress on mould-made paper
Oxford University Press text under General Editor Stanley Wells
14˝ x 10¾˝
This includes the text of the play with full explanatory notes
Bound in buckram
8¾˝ x 5¾˝
Bound in buckram
15˝ x 11˝ x 2¾˝