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Richard II by William Shakespeare
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Richard II

by William Shakespeare

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2,991382,801 (3.78)103

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Like all real literature this is about death. While Dick is not necessarily the greatest king around he is at least smart enough to realize that the collapse of his reign is a chain of events that can only inevitably lead to his murder, as the continued existence of a "rightful heir" is a loose end no usurper can afford to leave lying around. So the play is mostly about him alternating trying to grapple with this fact with constructing daydreams of some "possible escape" (there is no escape). A solid tragedy but does not reach the same heights Shakespeare managed with more sympathetic characters than this guy who is portrayed as moostly the cause of his own problems. ( )
  jhudsui | Nov 12, 2018 |
Thick as a brick, the Arden edition of "Richard II" is a sight to behold. It's my first Arden history, and I'm looking forward to more. A play entirely in prose needs a lot of textual analysis, but what makes this particularly wonderful is the depth of the notes on the historical context. To an audience watching this in 1600, the references were as familiar to us as an episode of "The Daily Show", replete with all of the tiny little nuances that we just cannot grasp.

Forker's notes give us detailed quotes from Shakespeare's sources, and spend a lot of time examining the relationship of the text to history. Being of an older generation, many of his thoughts on individual words and grammar are particularly enlightening, although one could argue that readers uninitiated in the particularities of grammar (vocatives, absolutes, etc.) may need to consult a guidebook as they go. Forker commendably sometimes offers alternatives to phrases even when the obvious reading seems likely (or, at least, easy), but he has a frustrating grandfatherly habit of dismissing modern theatrical approaches to the plays when they aren't historically accurate. While I can appreciate his points sometimes, it seems churlish to expect directors of these plays - made, after all, for a populist audience - to prioritise historical veracity even when it would confuse audiences or obfuscate an already challenging text. But anyhow, I digress. That's a minor quibble for what is another sterling edition in this most wonderful of book series.

As with all Ardens, this is for scholars and readers rather than families and actors. Genius work though. We live in an often-terrible world, and yet we near the completion of such an astonishing scholarly project as this. There is hope for us yet. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Brilliant play, excellent commentary. ( )
  ajungherr | Mar 15, 2018 |
I love this one. Not sure if this is my second or third reading -- GR says I read it last in Nov. 2014, but I feel like I read it last more recently -- but, again, this is a five star play for me. This time I started with Marjorie Garber's chapter on Richard, from her marvelous Shakespeare After All. Her analysis didn't provide any startling insights, but it added to my appreciation of the way Shakespeare's artistry works in this play. Anyway, I just find Richard fascinating. Sure, he's a dreadful king and a lousy nephew, but he's a wonderful character. So invested in his own performance as flamboyant monarch that when the "script" of events seems to suggest that a tragic fall is imminent, he seizes the role of doomed lord (or, as he often suggests, "Lord") and plays it to the hilt. He reminds me of Hamlet, though not so complex -- self-dramatizing even to the point of his own destruction, self-pitying, and introspective, and he is such a great contrast with Henry. Poet vs. pragmatist. And their uncle, the Duke of York, switching his loyalties from Richard to Henry as it seems expedient, throwing his son over in a red hot minute, acting the "sage counselor" but always putting his own interests first, is marvelous fun! This is one of my favorite plays.

The Arden edition of this has excellent notes, and the performances of the actors in the Archangel audio recording are marvelous. I can't recommend Marjorie Garber's Shakespeare After All highly enough, and also, because, of course, plays are meant for watching, the "King Richard II" in the BBC's "The Hollow Crown" and The Royal Shakespeare Company's "King Richard II" with David Tennant, are well worth seeing. ( )
  meandmybooks | Apr 4, 2017 |
Much better than I expected. I usually dislike Shakespeare's historical plays. This was not dull or silly, but beautiful. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (83 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dawson, Anthony B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmondson, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forker, Charles R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinman, CharltonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, KennethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ure, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, Stanley W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, John DoverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yachnin, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete Richard II only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or simplifications (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743484916, Mass Market Paperback)

Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Phyllis Rackin

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:34 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Richard II marks, as this new and invigorating edition by Charles Forker demonstrates, an exciting advance in the development of Shakespeare's artistry. The play's unusual formality of structure and tone and the impressive eloquence of its style seem to express the mystique of kingship more emphatically than any of the earlier histories, while its subtle handling of the major action - the dethronement of an unsuitable anointed monarch by an illegitimate but more able one - requires the audience to engage not just with the fall of a particular king but with the viability of hereditary monarchy as such." "Forker takes a fresh look at the first part of Shakespeare's second tetralogy of history plays, relating it to the earlier histories, placing it tellingly in its contemporary context, and discussing its relation to competing theories of monarchy and to the major political concerns of the 1590s. He demonstrates how in Richard II Shakespeare's exploration of the tragic personality achieved a higher degree of psychological complexity than in any earlier work, grounding the contest for power not just in factionalism of kinship or party but also in contrasts of sensibility and temperament. The complex style, imagery and rhetoric of the play, its verbal opulence, is fully discussed both in the introduction and in the full and authoritative commentary." "The edition also analyses and reconsiders Shakespeare's use of sources, asking why he chose to emphasize one approach over another, and outlines the play's rich afterlife, focusing on its changing reputation and particularly the varied history of twentieth-century staging. As usual with an Arden edition, there is a full exposition of textual complexity and the implications of presenting a modernized text. Richard II is a play that speaks directly to today's sense of political uncertainty and assertive individuality; it is given full value in this ample and authoritative edition."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714820, 0141016639

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