The Life and Death of King John

The Famous History of the Life of Henry VIII : with New and Updated Critical Essays and a Revised Bibliography

The Life and Death of King John

This newly revised edition features two of Shakespeare's most important history plays, accompanied by a discussion and criticism of his life, world, and theater by renowned scholars; stage histories of notable actors, directors, and producers; and fascinating commentaries. Reprint.

King John and Henry VIII

King John and Henry VIII

These two history plays—one written in the early days of Shakespeare’s career and one at the very end—are alike in the complexity of their political vision. King John probes the nature of good and evil as self-interest and ruthless ambition proceed unchecked while an unpopular ruler wages a brutal fight to keep his throne. Henry VIII is a sumptuous spectacle of pomp and ceremony, as well as an exploration of the mysterious ways in which the rise and fall from power of individuals led ultimately to England’s destiny as a Protestant nation.

King John and Henry VIII

Critical Essays

King John and Henry VIII

Originally published in 1988. Arranged by play, the essays presented here focus first on production and then on a range of other issues such as characters, imagery, textual problems and themes. Both plays were more popular in earlier centuries and most later essayists focused on small issues rather than view the plays in wider perspective. More recent pieces included here seek organising principles for King John and look in more detail at Henry VIII. Beginning with the in-depth introduction by the editor, this collection shows the reception of the play by its Elizabethan audience compared to twentieth century audiences and looks at the history portrayed by Shakespeare. Some chapters review very varied stage productions while others are character analysis or individual focuses.

King John

King John

Includes Malone, Hazlitt, Dowden, Swinburne, Pater, Brandes, Chambers, Masefield and Frank Harris.

King Henry VIII

Third Series

King Henry VIII

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.

The King's Reformation

Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church

The King's Reformation

A major reassessment of England's break with Rome