In their lively and engaging edition of this sometimes neglected early play, Cox and Rasmussen make a strong claim for it as a remarkable work, revealing a confidence and sureness that very few earlier plays can rival. They show how the young Shakespeare, working closely from his chronicle sources, nevertheless freely shaped his complex material to make it both theatrically effective and poetically innovative. The resulting work creates, in Queen Margaret, one of Shakespeare's strongest female roles and is the source of the popular view of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick as "kingmaker." Focusing on the history of the play in terms of both performance and criticism, the editors open it to a wide and challenging variety of interpretative and editorial paradigms including moral and feminist criticism. A thorough discussion of the origins and production of the Octavo, the two Quartos, and the First Folio lead into the play itself. A facsimile of the Octavo text, casting charts, notes on the play's battles, and genealogical tables are included as appendices.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play's foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.