Item description for King Henry VIII (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) by Gordon McMullan William Shakespeare...
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.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.11" Width: 5.35" Height: 1.57" Weight: 1.56 lbs.
Release Date Nov 2, 2000
ISBN 1903436249 ISBN13 9781903436240
Availability 66 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 01:19.
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Reviews - What do customers think about King Henry VIII (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series)?
Contemporary History Nov 19, 2005
I have tried to abide by a discipline to read at least one Shakespearean play a year. I rarely if ever have reviewed any of them because they are so picked over that I don't feel that I have anything to add. However, it was with a good deal of anticipation that I stepped away from the renowned to the obscure by reading "King Henry VIII". I say that because it was the subject that interested me and I admit that it made quite a difference reading a play about someone I knew something about. This, in turn, gave me pause to consider many things about "King Henry VIII" that I would never have even known to consider about his other histories. It's not that I read many of his other histories but those that I had read left me completely at the mercy of the Bard for any sort of perspective or overview.
What I found most interesting about "King Henry VIII" is the limited scope that the play covered. Let's face it: even today Ol' King Henry VIII is a treasure chest of plots and subplots. Yet Shakespeare treated his subject with a great deal of respect and, essentially, rewrote history before it was even written. The four or five main characters (with the exception of Cardinal Wolsley) all come across in good light. Perhaps Ann "Bullen" is a bit empty-headed but certainly Henry, Anne of Aragon and the lesser known (outside of the Church) Thomas Cranmer are all noble through and through. There is little of the bawdy, glutonous Henry that history has given us. You would guess that Shakespeare would have done great things with such a subject but he didn't and the question that I asked myself was; WHY?
I have not studied anything about this play. I prefer to always see what the play says directly to me before being told by others as to what it means. Thus I may be stating the obvious but I came away with the conclusion that "King Henry VIII" was written for Shakespeare's Quenn Elizabeth. It was pretty obvious when reading Cranmenr's final speech and it put everything into perspective. All that went before were noble and all that came after were not even mentioned. The "noble" divorce of Henry and Ann of Aragon was necessary so that Henry have the proper opportunity to sire Elizabeth. I'm not sure enough of my timetables to know if Elizabeth I was still alive when this play came out but even if she weren't it would still be the Bard's tribute to her.
I had come to expect that most of the "good stuff" of Shakespeare (with the exception of "King Henry V") was to be found in his tragedies primarily and comedies next with the histories coming up a poor third. However, I kept my pencil busy underling passages in "King Henry VIII". It is a good play, it's not "MacBeth", but it's a good play. I'd have considered rating it 5 stars but then we'd have to rate some of the rest as 7's 8's and 9's. Most people who'd take the time to read Shakespeare probably already have a pretty good working knowledge of at least the popular history of the King with six wives. Read it for yourself and I think that you, too, will find that history is better understood when you are already familiar with the subject.
Multiple editions Jul 7, 2001
... the reviews for King Henry VIII by William Shakespeare (and all their other books as far as I can tell) as if different editions have the same content - obviously in the case of classics that is far from true.
... 3 editions of Henry VIII at this time: (1) Hardback edited by Gordon McMullar published in November 2000 (2) Paperback edited by Jay L. Halio published in September 2000 (3) Paperback edited by R. A. Foakes published in February 1998
Their editorial reviews describe ALL 3 of these editions as "This is the first fully annotated modern-spelling edition of King Henry VIII to appear for over a decade and includes up-to-date scholarship on all aspects of the play, including dating authorship, printing, sources and stage history." I don't think so! The reader reviews don't distinguish the editions but they are the same reviews posted for the different books. I wish I could contribute the answer but I am still trying to figure it out -- in the meantime, purchase cautiously or you may be disappointed.
William Shakespeare's King Henry VIII Apr 27, 2000
Shakespeare managed to describe the later life of King Henry the eight, with much intelligence and gracefulness. This play, written centuries before, has captured my attention unlike any present-day play or novel. King Henry VIII was based on the life of the notoriously known King Henry the eight of England. To my dismay, only two of King Henry's wives were mentioned. This play showed how King Henry's life was never truly complete: he couldn't trust anyone, he was unfaithful to the Lord, his wives and his country, and he was never blessed with a son, to be heir to his throne. For myself, the climax of the play was viewing how the king dealt with the change of wives and the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth. The play King Henry VIII by William Shakespeare is a wonderful recommendation for anyone who wishes to understand the tidings of King Henry the eight from a fictitious, historical, personal point of view, rather than from historical facts.
Shakespeare's Final Play Feb 28, 2000
This was an appropriate conclusion to Shakespeare's career. Not only are the characters such as Henry VIII, Cranmer, and Wolsey convincing, but the poetry and images are beautiful. In addition, through the fall of several characters such as Wolsey, we can see reflections of Shakespeare himself as he wrote his 37th and final play. It is also poetically appropriate that one of the greatest writers England ever knew ended his career by writing a play about one of the greatest kings that England ever knew! I DO NOT believe that Shakespeare only wrote parts of this play as many people do. With the beautiful images, poetry, and captivating characters, I am very confident in the belief that this play was written entirely by the one and only William Shakespeare.