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King John - Arden Shakespeare: Second Series - Paperback (The Arden Shakespeare. Second Series) [Paperback]

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Item description for King John - Arden Shakespeare: Second Series - Paperback (The Arden Shakespeare. Second Series) by William Shakespeare...

The Arden Shakespeare is the established edition of Shakespeare's work. Justly celebrated for its authoritative scholarship and invaluable commentary, Arden guides you a richer understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's plays. This edition of King John provides, a clear and authoritative text, detailed notes and commentary on the same page as the text, a full introduction discussing the critical and historical background to the play and appendices presenting sources and relevant extracts.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   350
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 12, 1967
Publisher   Arden
ISBN  1903436095  
ISBN13  9781903436097  

Availability  0 units.

More About William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon." His extant works include some collaboration, consisting of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

William Shakespeare lived in Stratford-Upon-The Avon. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616.

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1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > British Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > Shakespeare

Reviews - What do customers think about King John - Arden Shakespeare: Second Series - Paperback (The Arden Shakespeare. Second Series)?

Shakespeare's First Falstaff  Sep 28, 2008
KING JOHN has one of Shakespeare's best death scenes and a character, Faulconbridge the bastard son of Richard the Lion Hearted, who is a first draft for Falstaff -- and better integrated into the play's main action than Falstaff is. It's unique among Shakespeare's works in being about Realpolitik in a genuine historical context -- as if a modern American playwright should write a play about George Washington's political compromises, complete with a presentation of the real historical situations that led up to them. Faulconbridge is there to make cynical comments, and yet remain loyal to King John, who almost, but not quite, becomes a child murderer in the course of the action. Earlier, the complexities of wartime politics are revealed when a town refuses to admit either the King of England or the King of France as its rightful ruler until the two kings have fought out the question first -- whereupon the two kings decide to agree on a truce, just long enough to wipe the town out together, then go back to fighting one another. The play is a wonderful mix of history and ironic commentary, one of two plays of Shakespeare's that is entirely in verse (the other one is RICHARD II, which he wrote just before KING JOHN), and it's tragically poetic and satiric in equal measure. Shakespeare never wrote anything else quite like it. If he wrote better plays, they were also different kinds of plays: this one is unique. The Folger edition has excellent notes for beginning students; the Oxford edition is for more advanced students, and also exceptionally good.
One of Shakespeare's statelier plays.  Aug 29, 2001
the Oxford Shakespeare has been touted as 'a new conception' of Shakespeare, but is in fact merely an update of the cumbersome old Arden editions. Like these, 'King John' begins with a 100-page introduction, divided into 'Dates and Sources' (full of what even the editor admits is 'tedious' nit-picking of documentary evidence); 'The Text' (the usual patronising conjecture about misprints in the Folio edition and illiterate copyists); 'A Critical Introduction', giving a conventional, but illuminating guide to the drama, its status as a political play dealing with the thorny problem of royal succession, the contemporary legal ambiguities surrounding inheritance, the patterning of characters, the use of language (by characters as political manoeuvring, by Shakespeare to subvert them); and an account of 'King John' 'In the Theatre', its former popularity in the 18th and 19th century as a spectacular pageant, the play distorted for patriotic purposes, and its subsequent decline, presumably for the same reasons. The text itself is full of stumbling, often unhelpful endnotes - what students surely want are explanations of difficult words and figures, not a history of scholarly pedantry. The edition concludes with textual appendices.
The play itself, as with most of Shakespeare's histories, is verbose, static and often dull. Too many scenes feature characters standing in a rigid tableau debating, with infinite hair-cavilling, issues such as the legitimacy to rule, the conjunction between the monarch's person and the country he rules; the finer points of loyalty. Most of the action takes place off stage, and the two reasons we remember King John (Robin Hood and the Magna Carta) don't feature at all. This doesn't usually matter in Shakespeare, the movement and interest arising from the development of the figurative language; but too often in 'King John', this is more bound up with sterile ideas of politics and history, than actual human truths. Characterisation and motivation are minimal; the conflations of history results in a choppy narrative. There are some startling moments, such as the description of a potential blood wedding, or the account of England's populace 'strangely fantasied/Possessed with rumours, full of idle dreams/Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear'. The decline of the king himself, from self-confident warrior to hallucinating madman, anticipates 'King Lear', while the scene where John's henchman sets out to brand the eyes of the pubescent Pretender, is is full of awful tension.
P.S. Maybe I'm missing something, but could someone tell me why this page on 'King John' has three reviews of 'Timon of Athens'? Is somebody having a laugh?
Not Bad, But Not Great Either  Mar 13, 2000
This is a good play, but it does not match Shakespeare's other history plays. In my opinion too much of the play revolves around a doting mother who wants to see her underage son on the throne even though he is very incapable of ruling. Furthermore, any intelligent observer can see that the King of France only wants Arthur on the crown because a child would be a lot easier to manipulate than the shrewd King John. Remember, John WAS NOT a usurper. Richard the Lionhearted named John as the heir to the crown! On the positive side, Richard I's illegitimate son is a powerful and convincing character. John is an interesting 3 dimensional character. At times he comes off as harsh and cruel. But he also shows himself at times to be to be a strong and competent king. And at times we can feel sorry for him. Shakespeare also manages to squeeze some comical touches in. I feel that to appreciate this play as much as possible, you must realize that Richard I named John the heir to the crown. I also feel you must understand that John did prove himself to be a competent king. (Unlike his unfairly blackened reputation in "Robin Hood.")
The coolest play!  Sep 6, 1999
I recently performed in this play. I had the role of Queen Elinor. It was a joy to put on and I totally recommend the unabridged version to anyone! I myself am trying to find an unabridged book version, so let me know if one becomes available.
Stage quality Bard that you can take with you!  Jul 29, 1998
Had I time enough and words enough, and skill enough, I'd go back in time and give copies of the complete set of Arkangel to every school in the country! How lovely that the current generation can feel the power and the drama and the passion that lies in those dusty pages. Thank you Arkangel for bringing this to life for everyone.

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