Item description for King Lear (Ignatius Critical Editions) by William Shakespeare & Joseph Pearce...
Overview Edited by Joseph Pearce One of the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, King Lear is also one of the most thought-provoking. The play turns on the practical ramifications of the words of Christ that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. When confronted with the demand that she should render unto Caesar that which is God's, Cordelia chooses to "love and be silent". As the play unfolds each of the principal characters learns wisdom through suffering. This edition includes new critical essays by some of the leading lights in contemporary literary scholarship. The Ignatius Critical Editions represent a tradition-oriented alternative to popular textbook series such as the Norton Critical Editions or Oxford World Classics, and are designed to concentrate on traditional readings of the Classics of world literature. While many modern critical editions have succumbed to the fads of modernism and post-modernism, this series will concentrate on tradition-oriented criticism of these great works. Edited by acclaimed literary biographer, Joseph Pearce, the Ignatius Critical Editions will ensure that traditional moral readings of the works are given prominence, instead of the feminist, or deconstructionist readings that often proliferate in other series of 'critical editions'. As such, they represent a genuine extension of consumer-choice, enabling educators, students and lovers of good literature to buy editions of classic literary works without having to 'buy into' the ideologies of secular fundamentalism. The series is ideal for anyone wishing to understand great works of western civilization, enabling the modern reader to enjoy these classics in the company of some of the finest literature professors alive today.
Publishers Description One of the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, King Lear is also one of the most thought-provoking. The play turns on the practical ramifications of the words of Christ that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. When confronted with the demand that she should render unto Caesar that which is God's, Cordelia chooses to "love and be silent." As the play unfolds each of the principal characters learns wisdom through suffering. This edition includes new critical essays by some of the leading lights in contemporary literary scholarship.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2008
Publisher ISI Distributed Titles
Series Ignatius Critical Editions
ISBN 1586171372 ISBN13 9781586171377
Availability 0 units.
More About William Shakespeare & Joseph Pearce
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.
Reviews - What do customers think about King Lear (Ignatius Critical Editions)?
Considered with Other Editions, in response to previous review. Nov 21, 2008
this site.com first recommended this text to me, based on my purchasing history; I did look at it before reading Scanlon's review. I am a second-year graduate student in English (Renaissance/Early Modern British literature). I have loved engaging with King Lear and continue to return to that text. I chose one of the papers I'd written on it as a writing sample for my grad school applications and also selected Lear as one of the plays for my first qualifying exam. The Norton critical editions have been useful to me (especially by providing "The History of King Lear" and "The Tragedy of King Lear" on facing pages, as well as the conflated text). I also have other editions on my shelf for reference. The most useful have been the Riverside Shakespeare and the Arden editions. (Bevington's edition was required for one undergrad class, but I have not come back to that edition lately.) Stephen Orgel's introduction to the Penguin edition motivated me to rework part of my paper, to make my argument more clear.
That said, I also have a copy of "The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare," which contains absolutely no critical information, no textual notes, or editorial comments. I do wonder who decided which edition to include for each poem or play (especially the wildly different Lears) and on what criteria. For the non-specialist, or for a student who will not be held responsible for the publication history or critical history of King Lear, I have recommended the Dover Thrift Edition ($1.50)--as well as Olivier's film. I have not yet recommended the Ignatius edition, though I might. It is not a critical edition of the same comprehensive scope or academic rigor of such editions as the Norton, Oxford, Riverside, but not all readers need that.
Scanlon supposes the readership for this Ignatius edition to be a "home schooling or private schooling market of little literary sophistication and preparation." He perceives that Shakespeare's King Lear is somehow inappropriate for home educated students, whom he labels as "ideologically restrained." Yes, please do "imagine" such students reading "the wrenching Lear": some home-educated students have achieved a depth and breadth of historical context, analytical reading skills--indeed, even a high degree of literary sophistication! Scanlon might be surprised to know that these students do read and write about "profound" and difficult texts, even delighting in "anything among the Greeks." Such students may--and do--go beyond the initial assignment and read the Folio, the Quarto, and Tate's revision of Lear. I know they do--I did. So did a colleague. So did another friend, who did not choose to pursue literature studies at the university level. In fact, I chose to focus my analysis precisely on "the Quarto's inexorable tragic ending with the death of the innocent Cordelia." (I even keep a print of a rendition of that tragic scene in a small frame on my bookshelf.)
Of course, many other students (whether home-, private- or public-schooled) remain largely uninterested in literature; many are underprepared for reading such texts as Lear. I have worked with home-educated students, as well as at a public high school, a community college and now a public university. It is always a delight to see students engage directly with a literary classic and to become interested in the action, sometimes in spite of themselves. Even lamentably underprepared students can read this play (reading aloud can help). As they find they can understand the basics, such as the meaning of the words and the action of the play, they become more interested in discussing further. As a tutor, I found that students were more likely to become bogged down or discouraged with the text (Shakespeare's play or otherwise), when confronted with a variety of critical approaches too soon, before engaging with the play themselves.
While I am not convinced that the Ignatius edition is a necessary addition to the market, I contend that Scanlon's concerns about the content are largely unfounded. Motivated students will seek out the other primary and secondary materials anyway; underprepared students will pick up this "slim volume" and be glad of the explanatory footnotes. It is those students, after all, for whom the explanations of what Scanlon or I might call "obvious" terms were intended.
TRY THE TRADITIONAL EDITIONS LIKE ARDEN, OXFORD, PELICAN AND NORTON, ETC., INSTEAD Aug 27, 2008
The sales material for this series alleges it to be firmly "traditional" without defining what possibly it might mean by this modifier. The sales pitch claims it eschews the modernist, post-modernist, feminist and deconstructivist, appealing to the literature professor intent upon a "traditional" reading, and yet in the reviews included in this slender volume we find a dialectical (i.e., Marxist) approach as well as one presenting the doubt in Faith. There is also a review employing Samuel Beckett's post-modern dramatic form of the tragicomic.
Under the three brief reviews labelled here "classic" we find one from the poet Keats upon reading Lear again (excerpted from his correspondence?), one from Johnson's well-known preface, and an excerpt from a longer old work certain to put any "traditionalist" classroom into deep, traditional and very restful slumber.
Each page includes about a third of a page of slender, well-marginated footnotes explaining uncertain and other terms, including the often obvious. There is none of the usual running comparison of Folios and Quatros found in the more traditional critical editions.
If this series were much cheaper, it might be worthwhile to purchase as a cheap alternative to the more authoritative and complete editions, which include such niceties as the history of the textual variants, etc. and the reasons for selecting one version over another, or for producing a synergy from several. The others often handle more extensively Keats and Johnson, etc.
Especially recommendable among the traditional are the ancient and honored Arden King Lear (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) (of which I am now reading the second of a series of three, being renewed ever forty years or so), of course the old war horse King Lear (Norton Critical Editions) which is so oddly and erroneously and specifically dismissed in the sales pitch for this ideologically constrained slender Ignatius series, or King Lear (The Pelican Shakespeare), and the mighty, pre-eminent The Oxford Shakespeare: The History of King Lear (The Oxford Shakespeare).
In any case this is the play to consider in a time of tyrannical misrule by decrepit old men, coming as it here does from an editorial house of old men at Ignatius. Please see as well such excellent dramatic reproductions as Olivier's wonderful King Lear and the severely yet effectively abridged early Peter Brooks production with Orson Welles, if only for the odd cigarette comercials. It is an excellent production, an excellent Welles showing the power of his stage presence in its prime, and certain to keep that persecuted traditionalist classroom awakened, even most dangerously educated.
See as well the master cineaste Akira Kurosawa's reading in Ran - Criterion Collection. But avoid anything at all from Ignatius Press for its bizarre Opus Dei ideology, as evidenced by the sales pitch here. The brilliant, comprehensively learned, courageous and holy Saint Ignatious of Loyola certainly holds his head in shame, or in resigned laughter. Meanwhile for those seeking the latest in academic essays regarding this great and comic tragedy, this ballad from before the Romans brought writing to the western isles (mutilating torture by tyrants is as old as King Lier, as new as a baby Bush), seek out and snatch King Lear: New Critical Essays (Shakespeare Criticism); for those burdened with bringing the tragedy of the forgetful, trusting elderly, whose hand doth smell of mortality, to youthful scholars more suited to Romeo or Hamlet, try not only the Welles mentioned above, but especially the King Lear (Graphic Shakespeare) (Shakespeare Graphic Library). The excellent Peter Brooks Scofield version at King Lear [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ] may be far too graphic and laden with Bergman. Thus for SCofield the voice-only may serve best, either in the CAedmon 1968 apparition William Shakespeare KING LEAR [Unabridged Audiocassettes] or the more recent version by the excellent if octogenarian Scofield at King Lear (Naxos AudioBooks). Recordings with Sir Gielgud or Sir Guiness are also available easily upon this this site.
Yet, whatsoever you may do, do avoid Ignatius! The shameful presumptuousness casts doubt upon the credibility and academic rigor of this entire series of "Ignatius Critical Editions" and indeed upon the entire publishing house which seeks through this sales pitch to milk a home schooling or private schooling market of little literary sophistication and preparation. But why Lear for such an audience? Imagine subjecting students to the reading of the wrenching Lear! Do they follow the lesser Folio version? Do they supply the later, popular, dramatic "happy ending?" Or do they maintain the Quarto's inexorable tragic ending with the death of the innocent Cordelia, an ending as profound as anything among the Greeks, and difficult even for the elderly to bear? Having asked her button be loosened, Lear dies of joy to see her head move, even involuntarily, in the most painful scene in all English literature aside from the death of little Nell. Why subject your ideologically restrained home schooled to this? Because for all its nudity Lear holds little sex, and those who do like Edmund die? Does this fit their ideology?
Meanwhile please see at the least our finest, our greatest, our irreplaceable and eminently traditional American Shakespearean actor Mr. James Earle Jones in his prime, along with a remarkably thin and young and dashing Raul Julia in his prime (later of Romero fame) and Paul Sorvino and other excellent actors in the Joe Papp Shakespeare in the Park production King Lear / Jones, New York Shakespeare Festival (Broadway Theatre Archive), and put Ignatius most mercifully to rest.