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Henry IVby Jonathan Bate
Synopses & Reviews
Henry IV sits on a usurped throne, his conscience and his nobles in revolt, while his son Hal is immersed in a self-indulgent life of revelry with the notorious Sir John Falstaff. Shakespeare explores questions of kingship and honor in this masterly mingling of history, comedy, and tragedy.
Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, this Modern Library series incorporates definitive texts and authoritative notes from William Shakespeare: Complete Works. Each play includes an Introduction as well as an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career; commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers; scene-by-scene analysis; key facts about the work; a chronology of Shakespeare’s life and times; and black-and-white illustrations.
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.
A continuation of the major series of individual Shakespeare plays from the world renowned Royal Shakespeare Company, edited by two brilliant, younger generation Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen
Incorporating definitive text and cutting-edge notes from William Shakespeare: Complete Works—the first authoritative, modernized edition of Shakespeare's First Folio in more than 300 years—this remarkable series of individual plays combines Jonathan Bate's insightful critical analysis with Eric Rasmussen's textual expertise.
About 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.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Tragical-comical-historical-pastoral ; Harry to Harry ; Honor versus instinct ; The prince as Machiavel? ; Reformation and rejection — About the text — Key facts — The first part of Henry the Fourth, with the life and death of Henry surnamed Hotspur — Textual notes — Oaths from the quarto — Scene-by-scene analysis — Synopisis of Henry IV part II — Henry IV in performance: the RSC and beyond — Shakespeare's career in the theater — Shakespeare's works: a chronology — Kings and queens of England: from the history plays to Shakespeare's lifetime — The history behind the histories: a chronology — Further reading and viewing — References.
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