Neither comedy nor tragedy, The Winter's Tale contains elements of each genre, and defies easy classification.
It experiments, like many of Shakespeare's late plays, with different styles and tones, and draws on a wide range of sources and inspirations.
Full of mysteries and miracles, grief and dark humour, this strange play has fascinated critics and theatregoers for centuries.
Theatrical and cinematic productions have tried to capture the range of interpretations and staging possibilities presented by The Winter's Tale, and the introduction to this edition explores the play's long history in performance and in criticism.
Illustrations and extended notes interleaved throughout the text discuss the echoes of religious, scientific, and mythological texts found in the play.