Shakespeare's Tudor History: A Study of Henry IV

Shakespeare's Tudor History: A Study of Henry IV

by Tom McAlindon, Tom McAlindon
     
 

"In this study, McAlindon re-reads the two Henry plays - Shakespeare's highest achievment in the historical-political mode - in the light of the political and cultural history of the Tudor period. The book's format and methodology are designed for an overall comprehensiveness of approach appropriate to an essentially historicist study." "Shakespeare's Tudor History… See more details below

Overview

"In this study, McAlindon re-reads the two Henry plays - Shakespeare's highest achievment in the historical-political mode - in the light of the political and cultural history of the Tudor period. The book's format and methodology are designed for an overall comprehensiveness of approach appropriate to an essentially historicist study." "Shakespeare's Tudor History begins with an account of the play's critical history from 1700 to the 1980s, asserting the importance of critical commentary before the postmodern criticism that has dominated the last two decades of the twentieth century. Given the close connection of Henry IV with the other histories, this chapter ranges fairly widely, and is to some extent, and of necessity, a critical history of all Shakespeare's English histories." "The study then moves to an account of aspects of Tudor history that the author deems especially relevant to an understanding of Henry IV. Special emphasis is placed on the linked rebellions of 1536, 1547 and 1569, which haunted the government and its propagandists in the unstable last decades of the century when the state was threatened by a Catholic alliance of internal and external forces. Echoes of these rebellions are present in Henry IV, which seems to endorse the prevailing Tudor conception of history as repetitive and cyclical." In the second edition of the book, McAlindon provides close readings of the text, structured individually around what he puts forward as the plays' three dominant concepts: Time, Truth and Grace. Rather than considering each in distinct outline, McAlindon shows the major concepts to overlap; he deals with each in relation to associated concepts of an arguably subordinate order.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780754604686
Publisher:
Ashgate Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
01/01/2002
Series:
Shakespeare Studies
Pages:
238
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsvii
List of Abbreviationsviii
Prefaceix
Part IContext
Chapter 1A Critical History3
A masterpiece3
Comic history4
Structures5
Nineteenth-century interpretations8
Twentieth-century interpretations: conservative Shakespeare13
Twentieth-century interpretations: ambivalent Shakespeare17
Conclusion23
Chapter 2A Tudor History27
Present and past27
Rebellion28
The colours of rebellion and the problem of truth34
Rumour's tongues39
'What is a man but his promise'40
Treachery and distrust44
Grace and favour48
Part IIText
Chapter 3Time53
Tudor time53
Henry IV: image and design63
The King65
'Esperance ma comforte': the rebels70
'Continual laughter': Falstaff75
'Sunlike majesty': the heir apparent83
'Veritas filia temporis'89
The presence of the past90
Chapter 4Truth93
Oaths, perjury, language93
Royal duplicity: Henry and Prince John96
The rebels: dividing and divided108
'The word of the noble': Sir John Falstaff (and friends)116
True prince or princely hypocrite?121
Chapter 5Grace141
Grace and honour141
'A god on earth': Henry and Prince John146
The 'king of honour': Sir Harry Percy157
Sir John: the reforming knight160
The 'ungracious boy'169
Pilgrims of grace176
AppendixTwelfth Night and temperate mirth177
Notes179
Bibliography209
Index221

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