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Suzanne Gossett offers a full and critical performance history, with an introduction showing how the play's performance history has paralled the criticism. It then gives an interpretation of this two-generation romance, with its successive male and female central characters, based on a reading 'through the family', and influenced by the feminist and new historicist criticism of the last two decades. The edition integrates cumulative research on Shakespeare's collaborative authorship and the transmission of the text without rewriting the play or ignoring years of emendations.