Twelfth Night, Or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, based on the short story “Of Apolonius and Silla” by Barnabe Rich. It is named after the Twelfth Night holiday of the Christmas season. It was written around 1601 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. The main title is believed to be an afterthought, created after John Marston premiered a play titled What You Will during the course of the writing.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright, now widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the ‘Bard of Avon’ (or simply ‘The Bard’). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, producing plays, such as Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies and collaborated with other playwrights.This content is for members only.