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Richard II by William Shakespeare

Richard II

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Second Tetralogy (1), Shakespeare's Histories (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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 |
This is the first proper History I've read, and I'm not really sure I get it. There's probably a lot I'm missing by not having the cultural knowledge Shakespeare's audience had. The fourth act is really great, though - enough so that I like the play. ( )
  comfypants | Aug 22, 2016 |
The first of the Henriad plays, 'The Tragedy of Richard II' covers Richard II's "Jesus Year": The eponymous king was only 32- and 33-years old as the tragedy of his life played out, setting the stage for The War of the Roses. During his 22-year reign, he was spoiled, and he abused the royal prerogative, so his fate should be no surprise; but The Bard paints a portrait of a man who found his humanity before paying the ultimate price. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Aug 21, 2016 |
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

Note upfront: I'm far from being qualified to say anything smart or deep about this literary work. Therefore, I'll only discuss what I thought about it whilst reading it. Also, my review is going to be biased since two weeks prior to reading I went to a performance of Richard II in Shakespeare's Globe which was awesome.

I was a little bit ashamed to admit that history lessons did not spoil this play for me. Admitted, English medieval history isn't taught at schools where I live and I'm glad just knowing all the English Kings and Queens (and the Dutch ones too, don't worry), but for me there was some suspense as I didn't know the outcome all along.

I found my copy on project Gutenborg, which offers all kinds of old works that no longer have copyrights on them as free ebooks. My edition was apparently from the first printed edition, complete with the v's that were supposed to be u's and vice versa. However, I found it was still very readable and I enjoyed it a lot.

The story, full of political intrigue and betrayal, was really captivating and I think this play is one of my favourites (of the ones I've read so far). I would definitely recommend it. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 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
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?
Last words
(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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