King Richard II / Edition 2

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Overview

"To Shakespeare's contemporaries, Richard II was a balanced dramatisation of the central political and constitutional issue of the time: how to cope with an unjust ruler. But over the last century or so, the play has come to be regarded as the poetic fall of a tragic hero. The introduction to this edition provides a full context for both the Shakespearean and the modern views of King Richard's fall." For this updated edition Andrew Gurr has added a new section to the Introduction in which he describes the growing interest in re-historicising and re-politicising the play, surveys a number of important professional theatre productions and guides the reader through the scholarly criticism of recent years. The Reading List has also been revised and augmented.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gurr's account is hard-headed and scholarly, very deftly interweaving comment on the play's action with discussion of contemporary political events...thorough, scholarly and continuously helpful." The Times Higher Education Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521825412
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Series: New Cambridge Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: Updated edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) - 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some the best work produced in these genres even today. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time."

Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the 19th century.

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Table of Contents

Introduction, with new section on recent stage and critical interpretations; Note on the text; List of characters; The play; Textual analysis; Appendixes: Shakespeare's use of Holinshed; 'An Homilie Against Disobedience'; Extracts from England's Parnassus; Reading list.
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