King Lear: A Guide to the Play

Greenwood Publishing Group
Free sample

In its timeless exploration of familial and political dissolution, and in its relentless questioning of the apparent moral indifference of the universe, King Lear is Shakespeare's darkest tragedy. It is also one of his most timely, for many of the issues it raises resonate loudly within our own era. Perhaps because of its contemporary relevance, it is one of Shakespeare's most frequently produced, taught, and studied works. And the amount of scholarship on King Lear is exceeded only be the complexity which that scholarship reveals. This book is a lucid and thorough guide to the play's roots and legacy.

The volume begins with a discussion of the play's textual history, which is complicated by the different quarto and folio versions. It also addresses the merits of several recent editions. The book then looks at the literary, historical, and cultural contexts that inform the play. This is followed by an examination of Shakespeare's dramatic art, an analysis of the play's themes, and a summary of the different approaches critics have used to elucidate its meaning. A final chapter explores the play's rich production history, and a selected bibliography concludes the volume. As a guide, this reference successfully navigates the tremendous body of available scholarship and is a ready aid for a wide range of readers.

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About the author

JAY L. HALIO is Professor of English at the University of Delaware. He edited the volume on King Lear for the New Cambridge Shakespeare series (1992), and The First Quarto of King Lear (1994). He has published numerous articles and several other books, including Romeo and Juliet: A Guide to the Play (1998), and Understanding The Merchant of Venice (2000), both available from Greenwood Press.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Greenwood Publishing Group
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Published on
Dec 31, 2001
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780313316180
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Hamlet in Purgatory, renowned literary scholar Stephen Greenblatt delves into his longtime fascination with the ghost of Hamlet's father, and his daring and ultimately gratifying journey takes him through surprising intellectual territory. It yields an extraordinary account of the rise and fall of Purgatory as both a belief and a lucrative institution--as well as a capacious new reading of the power of Hamlet.

In the mid-sixteenth century, English authorities abruptly changed the relationship between the living and dead. Declaring that Purgatory was a false "poem," they abolished the institutions and banned the practices that Christians relied on to ease the passage to Heaven for themselves and their dead loved ones. Greenblatt explores the fantastic adventure narratives, ghost stories, pilgrimages, and imagery by which a belief in a grisly "prison house of souls" had been shaped and reinforced in the Middle Ages. He probes the psychological benefits as well as the high costs of this belief and of its demolition.


With the doctrine of Purgatory and the elaborate practices that grew up around it, the church had provided a powerful method of negotiating with the dead. The Protestant attack on Purgatory destroyed this method for most people in England, but it did not eradicate the longings and fears that Catholic doctrine had for centuries focused and exploited. In his strikingly original interpretation, Greenblatt argues that the human desires to commune with, assist, and be rid of the dead were transformed by Shakespeare--consummate conjurer that he was--into the substance of several of his plays, above all the weirdly powerful Hamlet. Thus, the space of Purgatory became the stage haunted by literature's most famous ghost.


This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare's tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers.


This expanded Princeton Classics edition includes a new preface by the author.

The Merchant of Venice, even in its own time, was considered Shakespeare's most controversial play. Now, one of the most popularly read and performed works, the play raises even more important issues for our day, particularly anti-Semitism and the treatment of Jews. Shakespeare scholar Jay Halio brings together his fascinating literary insights and his considerable knowledge of Shakespeare's world to this student casebook. His analysis of the play helps students interpret Shakespeare's plot and interwoven subplots, the sources that helped shape the play and the characters, and the thematic issues relating to justice, mercy, and the myriad bonds of human relationships. These themes serve as starting points for a broader understanding of the issues discussed and documented: Elizabethan marriage and women's matrimonial rights; Renaissance concepts of male friendship; legal, moral, and religious views of usury; and the treatment of Jews in Venice and beyond. The concerns raised by the play are put into context with historical materials including Sir Francis Bacon's essay Of Friendship, excerpts from Henry Smith's 1591 A Preparative to Marriage, extracts from Phillip Stubbes' 1583 Anatomy of Abuses, and Travel Accounts by Fynes Moryson that describe Venice and how Jews lived there in the early 1600s. This casebook also considers contemporary applications, with essays and editorials on current hate groups in the United States, the treatment of women, and male bonding. This section, culminating with a poignant interview in which actor Hal Halbrook discusses his stage portrayal of Shylock, will leave readers with an appreciation for how profoundly relevant The Merchant of Venice remains for our time.

This casebook introduces students to the many issues in the play with a Literary and Dramatic Analysis chapter. Six topic chapters examine the play in its historical context, combining expert discussion and primary documents, making this ideal for interdisciplinary study. Each topic section contains ideas for classroom discussions, research papers, and further suggested readings to help students get the most out of their study of The Merchant of Venice.

Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth — the works of William Shakespeare still resonate in our imaginations four centuries after they were written. The timeless characters and themes of the Bard’s plays fascinate us with their joys, struggles, and triumphs, and now they are available in a single volume for Shakespeare fans. This edition of William Shakespeare's works includes all of his poems and plays in an elegant manner which makes it the perfect gift for any lover of literature — a book to read and treasure! Whether for a Shakespeare devotee or someone just discovering him, this is the perfect place to experience the drama of Shakespeare's words. It is one of the most authoritative editions of Shakespeare's Complete Works.

This ebook contains Shakespeare's complete plays and complete poems in a new, easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate format. This is the most reader-friendly introduction to Shakespeare available today. 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare' collects all thirty-seven of the immortal Bard's comedies, tragedies, and historical plays in a Collectible Edition. This volume also features Shakespeare's complete poetry, including the sonnets. With this beautiful Collectible Edition, you can enjoy Shakespeare's enduring literary legacy again and again.

This collection features the following works:
THE PLAYS
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
All’s Well that Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Julius Caesar
King Henry the Eighth
King Henry the Fifth
King Henry the Fourth, the First Part
King Henry the Fourth, the Second Part
King Henry the Sixth, the First Part
King Henry the Sixth, the Second Part
King Henry the Sixth, the Third Part
King John
King Lear
King Richard the Second
King Richard the Third
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello, the Moor of Venice
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

SONNETS AND POEMS
The Sonnets
A Lover’s Complaint
The Passionate Pilgrim
The Phoenix and the Turtle
The Rape of Lucrece
Venus and Adonis


(The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare, 9789380914831)
For more than two hundred years after William Shakespeare's death, no one doubted that he had written his plays. Since then, however, dozens of candidates have been proposed for the authorship of what is generally agreed to be the finest body of work by a writer in the English language. In this remarkable book, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro explains when and why so many people began to question whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. Among the doubters have been such writers and thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Henry James, Mark Twain, and Helen Keller. It is a fascinating story, replete with forgeries, deception, false claimants, ciphers and codes, conspiracy theories—and a stunning failure to grasp the power of the imagination.

As Contested Will makes clear, much more than proper attribution of Shakespeare’s plays is at stake in this authorship controversy. Underlying the arguments over whether Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, or the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays are fundamental questions about literary genius, specifically about the relationship of life and art. Are the plays (and poems) of Shakespeare a sort of hidden autobiography? Do Hamlet, Macbeth, and the other great plays somehow reveal who wrote them?

Shapiro is the first Shakespeare scholar to examine the authorship controversy and its history in this way, explaining what it means, why it matters, and how it has persisted despite abundant evidence that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the plays attributed to him. This is a brilliant historical investigation that will delight anyone interested in Shakespeare and the literary imagination.
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