Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679433125, 752pp.
Publication Date: October 4, 1994
Shakespeare's histories containing within their crowded tableaux all of the tragedies, confusions, and beauties of human life are not only drama of the highest order. They also serve as windows through which generations have made themselves familiar with crucial episodes in English history. For an Elizabethan England that had already emerged onto the stage of world power and was hungry to understand the sources and nature of its identity, Shakespeare provided a grandeur born of the transforming power of his art.
This volume contains Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3; Richard III; and King John. The texts, authoritatively edited by Sylvan Barnet, are supplemented with textual notes, bibliographies, a detailed chronology of Shakespeare's life and times, and a substantial introduction in which Tony Tanner discusses each play individually and in the context of Shakespeare's work.
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Like many of his contemporaries, including Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare began his career on the stage, eventually rising to become part-owner of Lord Chamberlain s Men, a popular dramatic company of his day, and of the storied Globe Theatre in London.
Extremely popular in his lifetime, Shakespeare s works continue to resonate more than three hundred years after his death. His plays are performed more often than any other playwright s, have been translated into every major language in the world, and are studied widely by scholars and students.
Tony Tanner was Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Cambridge.
“It is in Shakespeare that we see history finally emerge from ritual into drama . . . Shakespeare is manifestly interested in the past as past—as different from the present . . . By exploring how we lived then, we may . . . better understand the way we live now. And—who knows?—perhaps improve it.”
—from the Introduction by Tony Tanner