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Richard III (Signet Classics) by William…
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Richard III (Signet Classics) (edition 1998)

by William Shakespeare (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,341771,508 (4)225
Richard III is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays on the stage and has been adapted successfully for film. This new and innovative edition recognizes the play's pre-eminence as a performance work: a perspective that informs every aspect of the editing. Challenging traditional practice,the text is based on the 1597 Quarto which, it is argued, brings us closest to the play as it would have been staged in Shakespeare's theatre. The introduction, which is illustrated, explores the long performance history from Shakespeare's time to the present. Its critical engagement with the playresponds to recent historicist and gender-based approaches. The commentary gives detailed explication of matters of language, staging, text, and historical and cultural contexts, providing coverage that is both carefully balanced and alert to nuance of meaning.Documentation of the extensive textual variants is organized for maximum clarity: the readings of the Folio and the Quarto are presented in separate banks, and more specialist information is given at the back of the book. Appendices also include selected passages from the main source and a specialindex of actors and other theatrical personnel.… (more)
Member:shotwell.librarium
Title:Richard III (Signet Classics)
Authors:William Shakespeare (Author)
Info:Signet (1998), Edition: 2nd Revised ed., 336 pages
Collections:Study
Rating:
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The Tragedy of Richard the Third by William Shakespeare

  1. 20
    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: This is a mystery involving Richard III and the two princes in the tower, and seems to have garnered a bit of respect. It's a great read on its own, and would make a great companion read to Shakespeare's Richard III.
  2. 00
    Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This book by Stephen Greenblatt explains the political ideas of Shakespeare in a wonderfully readable book. Although many of the plays are discussed, he provides a great explanation to Henry VI and Richard III.
  3. 00
    Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: I recently reread Richard III after reading Henry VI, part 3 and enjoyed it much more. First, the characters are more familiar since they play prominent roles in Henry VI. Second, the future Richard III begins his scheming in Henry VI, party 3.
  4. 00
    We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (KayCliff)
  5. 00
    Yorkists: The History of a Dynasty by Anne Crawford (KayCliff)
  6. 00
    The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones (aquariumministry)
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26. Richard III by William Shakespeare
Originally Performed: 1592
format: 255-pages Signet Classic
acquired: May 11
read: May 22 – June 22
time reading: 10:12, 2.4 mpp
rating: 5
locations: 1480’s England
about the author: April 23, 1564 – April 23, 1616

Editing
[[Mark Eccles]] – editor – 1965, 1988, 1998
[[Sylvan Barnet]] – Series Editor – 1965, 1988, 1998
Sources
[[Sir Thomas More]] – from [The History of King Richard the Third] (written 1513-14, published 1557)
[[Raphael Holinshed]] – from [Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland], second edition (1587)
Commentaries
[[Charles Lamb]]
– Letter to Robert Lloyd (1801?)
– from an essay called Cooke’s Richard the Third (1802?)
– from On the Tragedies of Shakespeare, Considered with Reference to Their Fitness for Stage Representation (1811)
[[A. P. Rossiter]] – Angel with Horns: The Unity of Richard III (1961)
[[Robert Ornstein]] – Richard III - from [A Kingdom for the Stage: The Achievement of Shakespeare’s History Plays] (1972)
[[Coppélia Kahn]] – “Myself Alone”, Richard III and the Dissolution of Masculine Identity – from [Man’s Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare] (1981)
[[Mark Eccles]] – Richard III on Stage and Screen

One of the great joys of casually reading through Shakespeare is having a personal experience of discovery like this play was. With one of the best openings, maybe the best opening of his plays, and one of his best written monologues, Richard III rants to us, privately exposing his demons and intelligence, and laying out his ruthless practical but flawed mindset. He doesn't stop there, meeting other characters, wooing (successfully!!) the widow of prince whose murder he himself took a hand in. And between each scene, alone on the stage, he has a wry comment for us alone. I wrote on Litsy, "Our murdering villain confides in us, opening his empty heart, generating a real stage-audience bond. Act I is riveting and funny and wonderful and this is easily one of my favorites from our #shakespearereadalong".

Causally stumbled across sources insist this was breakthrough play for Shakespeare, and it just makes so much sense. Three entertaining, but imperfect and plot-hobbled histories of Henry VI predate this. Plays that can be appreciated. But this opening is a wow, really on a different level. Maybe too powerful, as Richard III, loser to Tudor founder Henry VII at Bosworth Field in 1485, murderer of Edward VI's young sons and heirs (and another brother's younger children), is forever villainized by the impression left by this play. The real Richard was a sharp character, committed to England, undermined by ex-queen Margaret's family (key members of whom he also murdered), and eventually entangled in a losing power struggle. He was a villainized loser, his grave lost until it was found under a parking lot in 2012.

This dark play is designed to be fun on the stage. A well done Richard III should take over the show and, quite frankly, be funny. He's just so much more clever than everyone else. And he is always acting, except when confiding to us, and for a scrooge-like dream sequence with a collection of entertaining ghosts. It's a performance of a performance, transparent only to us. Lost in his shadow are some terrific female roles, his own mother lamenting his character, the queen, once Lady Gray, who is his sister-in-law, and the ex-queen, widow of Henry VI, Margaret, who does her own bit of scene stealing (and yet commonly gets edited out.) This is also one of Shakespeare's longest plays. Editors must work with it for any performance. But there aren't really any unnecessary parts. Remove some lines, and part of the impact is missing.

As I said on Litsy, easily one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and certainly my favorite of the English histories.

2021
https://www.librarything.com/topic/330945#7546376 ( )
  dchaikin | Jul 3, 2021 |
Shakespeare's first no-qualifications, capital 'M' Masterpiece. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
As much as I’m a fan of historical fiction, Shakespeare’s interpretations seem to consistently do nothing but either piss me off or mildly bore me - Richard III being the former, as this story is nothing if not melodramatic. Overly so in a lot of ways, since Richard often comes off as an extreme case of a superficial villain what with his blatant asides about killing off literally everyone who doesn’t do what he wants (former allies are not excepted from this rule). Use, abuse, and then dispose seems to be his backing motto, and Shakespeare gives very little leeway from this theme in his almost-contemporary historical commentary. Obviously, those of us with some historical perspective (and who weren’t writing for the direct descendents of the Tudors who defeated Richard III at the finale of the Wars of the Roses) understand that the character of Richard of York is much more complex than he was portrayed by Shakespeare and other contemporaries, but this play still gives us an excellent example of just how much political propaganda was alive and well long before the modern day. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
[The Arden Shakespeare - King Richard III]
[Norton Critical Editions - Richard III - Shakespeare]
BBC The Tragedy of Richard III - William Shakespeare
I have been steeped in Shakespeares Richard III this week and steep is probably the word because it can seem like a long climb to the end. The play that has come down to us from the first folio edition is the second longest of Shakespeare's plays, only Hamlet is longer. The BBC production of the play clocks in at over 3 hours 45 minutes, but don't despair if you are going to see a live theatre production, as there is a good chance that it will have been cut. It has a history of being adapted for the stage, not only for it's length, but also to provide some information on whose who in the play, because it continues on from Shakespeare's Henry VI part III and following the history of the Wars of the Roses is complicated enough without coming in over half way through. From 1700 to the late nineteenth century the version performed would have been a rewrite by Colley Cibber: he incorporated parts of Henry VI part III, inserted some continuity into the text and made considerable cuts to the first folio edition, cutting all extraneous material to the main story of Richards rise and fall. I could appreciate why there could be a need to adapt the first folio edition when I read it through for the first time; certain scenes seem to be overlong and it can be difficult to distinguish the characters and there are references to what had gone on in the previous play.

The play remains the most performed of all Shakespeare's histories and that is probably because central to the play is the character of Richard III, probably the most evil genius ever to rule England according to Tudor propaganda and many people going to the theatre like to see a bad guy. Just what sort of evil genius you will see not only depends on the actors but also to the cuts made in the text. Cibber for example cut out Clarence's dream and his pleading with his murderers, the prattle with his children, the dialogue with the citizens, the cursing scene with Margaret and much of the scene with the Duchess of York, the spectres visiting the combatants tents at Bosworth field and much else. There was plenty of the play left, but the audience would not have seen Richard at his cleverest or most wittiest. There is much in the text that could be used to show Richard as a clever rogue, no better or worse than some of the other noble members of the houses of York and Lancaster, but if the aim of the production was to depict a malevolent and evil Machiavellian usurper of the crown then a more straightforward reading is possible, like that of Cibber's

The play opens with Richard's soliloquy and one of the most famous of Shakespeares lines:

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York"


A soliloquy is a device for passing confidential information to the audience and Richard not only tells us about his feelings of inadequacy in times of peace, his physical deformities, but also of the plots he has laid to get rid of his brother:

"I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days"


The audience immediately knows where they are with Richard, which is more than the other characters do in the play. Richard plays to the gallery, which if there was not an audience that gallery would be only himself. He immediately convinces his brother Clarence he will do everything he can to get him released from the Tower (prison) and then hires a couple of ruffians to murder him. His finest feat of manipulation however is completed shortly afterwards. He joins the funeral cortege of Henry VI and sets out to seduce the Lady Anne who is mourning her husband Prince Edward who Richard killed at the battle of Tewksbury; Richard also killed her father and Anne also knows he killed Henry VI. Richard stops the cortège to speak to and seduce Ann who starts off by calling him a foul devil and black magician, but Richard's wit, his offer to kill himself and his protestations of love persuades Ann to accept his ring. He cannot help himself boasting to his audience:

"Was ever woman in this humour wooed?
Was ever woman in this humour won?
I'll have her, but I will not keep her long.


Richard is an extreme misogynist, blaming his mother for his deformities. His disdainful treatment of Anne is typical of him. There are however strong female characters in the play who confront Richard or who talk about him amongst themselves. It is the female parts of the play that often end up on the cutting room floor. The women have all suffered by Richards actions either because husbands have been killed or children murdered and it is their challenge to him and their curses against him that start his loosening of the grip of the kingship. Not including this aspect of the play is like not including a piece of the jigsaw.

The fascination and perhaps the difficulty of understanding Richard for a modern audience is that his character is partly based on an earlier trope that appears in morality plays or early Elizabethan theatre. Richard is of course a modern day Machiavellian character in his plotting and his lust for power, but he is also representative of Vice or Punch in morality plays and so he has the power to do and persuade others to do; things that appear a little far fetched for modern audiences. The characters on the stage know what Richard has done and what he is capable of doing and yet they are all susceptible to his charms. It is only Richmond (Henry Tudor) who is immune and who leads the final assault on Richard's crown. Richard is involved in everything, if he is not on stage then plots that he has set in motion are coming to fruition, or enemies are planning to get the better of him, or are talking about him. It is not quite a one man show, but not too far off. Against Richard it is the female characters who are the strongest.

There is not a high body count only two people die on stage: Clarence and Richard himself; the young princes of the tower are murdered off stage, but it is clear that Richard has arranged their deaths. There is no mystery, it is clear what Richard is doing, much of the power of the play is contained in Richards character and his presence and so it is the words, the wit, the language of the performers that holds the audiences attention. Watching the BBC production brought this home to me. It uses many of the same actors from the previous plays in the tetralogy and an amusing piece of casting is that the actors that play Richards two dead brothers and his father reappear as followers of the triumphant Henry Tudor at the end of the play.

The Arden Shakespeare as usual gives a full analysis of the text, as much information as you could possibly want and it has a good introduction that refers on to further reading if necessary. It gives a potted history of the performance of the play up to modern times. The Norton Critical edition gives very little help with the actual text, but is very good on context. For example it gives excerpts from Shakespeares source material and an Example from Colley Cibbers rewritten version. It also includes essays of criticism, which as usual are a mixed bag.

I found the full version of the play overly long, but it is such a powerful play that it is a 5 star read either in the Arden or the Norton edition. ( )
2 vote baswood | Dec 4, 2020 |
It was a very good idea to listen to this version of the play. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (86 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Day, GillianContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eccles, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, G. BlakemoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, KalleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E.A.J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jowett, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamar, VirginiaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newborn, Sashasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York,
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Quotations
An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.
True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings;

Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete King Richard III 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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Richard III is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays on the stage and has been adapted successfully for film. This new and innovative edition recognizes the play's pre-eminence as a performance work: a perspective that informs every aspect of the editing. Challenging traditional practice,the text is based on the 1597 Quarto which, it is argued, brings us closest to the play as it would have been staged in Shakespeare's theatre. The introduction, which is illustrated, explores the long performance history from Shakespeare's time to the present. Its critical engagement with the playresponds to recent historicist and gender-based approaches. The commentary gives detailed explication of matters of language, staging, text, and historical and cultural contexts, providing coverage that is both carefully balanced and alert to nuance of meaning.Documentation of the extensive textual variants is organized for maximum clarity: the readings of the Folio and the Quarto are presented in separate banks, and more specialist information is given at the back of the book. Appendices also include selected passages from the main source and a specialindex of actors and other theatrical personnel.

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Book description
This director's playbook contains the script of the play in wide format, with fifty square inches of blank space for sketching in ideas for each scene or part of scene, the main action, costumes, sets. Plus glossary for obscure words or references, separate sections to be filled in for director and staff, budget, timeline, program, publicity, pre-production, audition or casting, set design, costumes, props, lighting, sound, stage manager. 
The playbook is designed for high schools and colleges, but anyone with a budget, a cast and crew could benefit by keeping track of all the components needed for a theatrical production. Also, a link to customized scripts for all major roles. www.createspace.com/3962607
Eleven other Shakespeare plays are available in this unique format.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714839, 0141013036

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An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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