King Henry VIII

ISBN-10: 1903436257
ISBN-13: 9781903436257
Edition: 3rd 2001 (Revised)
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Description: King Henry VIII has one of the fullest theatrical histories of any play in the Shakespeare canon, yet has been consistently misrepresented, both in performance and in criticism. This edition offers a new perspective on this ironic, multi-layered,  More...

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Book details

Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publication date: 11/2/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 532
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

King Henry VIII has one of the fullest theatrical histories of any play in the Shakespeare canon, yet has been consistently misrepresented, both in performance and in criticism. This edition offers a new perspective on this ironic, multi-layered, collaborative play, revealing it as a complex meditation on the progress of Reformation which sees English life since Henry VIII's day as a series of bewildering changes in national and personal allegiance and represents 'history' as the product of varied and contradictory testimony. McMullan makes a powerful claim for the rehabilitation of Henry VIII, providing the fullest performance history of any edition to date and reading the work not as a marginal 'late' Shakespeare play but as a play which is paradigmatic of the achievement of Renaissance drama as a whole. ?This is a staggeringly brilliant, captivating edition that will undoubtedly occasion a huge surge of critical interest in this neglected play. For those of use who have never taken Henry VIII very seriously ? perhaps dismissing it as a late collaborative play of no consequence or as conservative propaganda ? McMullan?s introduction is genuinely revelatory.? Eric Rasmussen, University of Nevada at Reno, Shakespeare Survey

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

Gordon McMullan is Reader in English at King's College London.

List of illustrations
General Editors? preface
Preface
Introduction
Authenticities: performance history - Date and early performances - Performances 1660-1916 - Performances 1916-2000
All is true: cultural history - Truth and topicality - Royal reputations - The conscience of the King - Truth and temperance - Truth and tragicomedy - The character of the Queen - Hidden reformations - Truth and topicality: coda Originals: textual history - Text and modernization - Resources - Sources - Analogues - Collaboration
King Henry VIII (ALL IS TRUE) Longer notes
Contextual chronology for the events of Henry VIII
Comparative chronology (1603-13) for plays in Fletcher and Shakespeare canons
Attribution and composition
The Maid?s Tragedy
Uncollected sources/analogues
Music
Doubling chart
Abbreviations and References
Index

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