Saturday, October 6, 2007

Twelfth Night, or, What You Will

Author: William Shakespeare

First line: If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Why you should read this book: A tidy bit of Shakespearean tomfoolery with a cold undertone of cruelty: Viola and Sebastian are fraternal (yet identical) twins, separated in a shipwreck, and Viola disguises herself as a boy to find employment with the Duke Orsino, with whom she falls in love. Orsino is in love himself with the disdainful Olivia, and he sends Viola to woo her; a second plot involves Olivia's drunken uncle taking revenge on her pompous steward. When Viola's lost brother rejoins the dance, misunderstandings abound, but all's well in the end, and love flourishes.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't like cross-dressing. Or cross-garters.

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