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The Henry the Fourth: Part One

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Overview

This edition offers a strongly theatrical perspective on the origins of The First Part of King Henry IV and the history of its interpretation. In their introduction the editors clarify the play's surprising, decentralized dramatic structure, questioning the recent assumption that the drama focuses on the education of Prince Hal. They call attention to the effects of civil war on a broad range of relationships. Falstaff's unpredictable vitality is explored, together with important contemporary values of honor, friendship, festivity and reformation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Weils's New Cambridge ^1 Henry IV takes a skillful route...making judicious choices at every level, from its nicely gauged textual commentary to its full account of the play's scholarly, critical, and theatrical histories. Clearly written with nonspecialists in mind, it should prove especially exciting for that audience, but there is much for the specialist reader as well." Shakespeare Quarterly
Booknews
Explores the major productions of Shakespeare's play between 1945 and 1986. Notes the political focus of productions after World War II, and the 1951 production that was a turning point for set design. Also considers Orson Welles' 1965 film version, and the 1979 BBC production. Acidic paper. Distributed by St. Martin's. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521296151
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Series: New Cambridge Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 227
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King’s New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers.” Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later under James I, called the King’s Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; List of abbreviations and conventions; Introduction: 1. Reputation; 2. Date; 3. The design of the play; 4. Transforming the sources; 5. The appeal of Falstaff and the contexts of interpretation; 6. Stage history; The play; Textual analysis; Appendix: Shakespeare and Holinshed; Reading list.
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