William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

(7019 words)
  • Nicholas Moschovakis (Independent Scholar - North America)


The earliest known text of Twelfth Night was printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays (1623). But we can be sure that a finished version of the play existed by 2 February 1602 (N.S.) - the feast of Candlemas - when it was performed in the Great Hall of London's Middle Temple. A law student who was there, John Manningham, wrote in his diary that it was “much like The Comedy of Errors, or Men[a]echmi in Plautus, but most like . . . that in Italian called Inganni.”

Indeed, Twelfth Night's main plot - or at least its central chain of romantic devices - has a long Renaissance lineage that can be traced to an …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Moschovakis, Nicholas. "Twelfth Night". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 December 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8488, accessed 02 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan