As You Like It


The direct and immediate source of As You Like It is Thomas Lodge's Rosalynde, Euphues Golden Legacie, written 1586-7 and first published in 1590.[2] Lodge's story is based upon "The Tale of Gamelyn",[3] wrongly attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer and sometimes printed among his Canterbury Tales. Although it was first printed in 1721, "The Tale Gamelyn" must have existed in manuscript form in Shakespeare's time. It is doubtful that Shakespeare had read it, but Lodge must have built his pastoral romance on the foundation of "The Tale of Gamelyn", giving it a pastoral setting and the artificial sentimental vein, much in fashion at the time. The tale provided the intertwined plots, and suggested all the characters except Touchstone and Jaques.

Some have suggested two other minor debts. The first is Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion, a poetic description of England, but there is no evidence that the poem was written before As You Like It. The second suggested source is The Historie of Orlando Furioso by Robert Greene, acted about 1592. It is suggested that Shakespeare derived the idea of Orlando's carving his lady's name on barks of trees from this play, but a lover carving love-poems on barks of trees was already in Lodge's tale.

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