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This new edition of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor focuses at every point on a theatrical understanding of the play. While emphasising the liveliness of the play in stage terms, David Crane also claims that this citizen comedy needs to be taken much more seriously than in the past, as an expression of Shakespeare’s fundamental understanding of human life, conveyed centrally in the character of Falstaff. In the process he also examines Shakespeare’s free and vigorous use of different linguistic worlds within the play. Together with a freshly edited text, a new account of the play’s textual history is provided. Crane concludes that at the time of its earliest performances Shakespeare’s text was in the process of adaptation to specific theatrical needs, and as much in the possession of its players as of its author.