Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays And The History Of England In The Middle Ages: 1337-1485
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- ISBN13: 9780743200318
- Number of Pages: 432
- English (Unknown)
- English (Original Language)
- English (Published)
In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, esteemed historian John Julius Norwich chronicles the turbulent events of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England that inspired Shakespeare's history plays. This was the raw material of Shakespeare's dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the true Falstaff? It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. Shakespeare's Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard's strategy of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages. How correct a historian was the playwright?
If Shakespeare's complicated portrayal from the teeming womb of royal kings (Richard II) of England in his history plays has always confused you, then John Julius Norwich's Shakespeare's Kings is one answer to your problems. Watching Henry IV as a young boy, Norwich asked, exactly where did history stop and drama start? It is this question that Shakespeare's Kings seeks to answer, as it chronicles the historical events of the reigns inside the monarchs of England dramatized in Shakespeare's plays. Beginning with Edward III, Norwich details the turbulent reign of Richard II, the rise of Henry IV, too because the triumphs of Henry V, the disastrous reign of Henry VI, the Wars of the Roses, the evil of Richard III, and the painful birth of the Tudor monarchy.
Norwich sheds interesting light on what Shakespeare did with his sources (particularly Holinshed) , as he provides chapters that detail the history of a specific monarch, which is then tested against Shakespeare's play of that particular king. This throws up some interesting points, such because the reality that the great nationalist John of Gaunt in Richard II was in fact a deeply unpopular, patrician figure. The book also contains some wonderful illustrations and excellent tables of loved ones trees, maps and an appendix that offers the entirety of Edward III, only recently (and nonetheless controversially) accepted in to the canon by Shakespeare scholars.
However, the typical reader ought to also treat Norwich's claim to historical objectivity with some caution. Shakespeare's Kings is nearly completely ignorant of recent critical and historical studies of Shakespeare and historical studies in the monarchs beneath consideration. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon. But there's the rub. uk But this obscures the extent to which history and literature are invariably entwined and nowhere a lot more so than in Shakespeare. co. Norwich argues that Shakespeare would never have claimed historical accuracy--and to establish just how close he came has been a single of the principal purposes of this book--because he was a dramatist, not a historian.
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