The History Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare (Shakespeare: His Work and World)
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Shakespeare: His Work and World is a series that provides an overview of Shakespeare and the historical elements that shaped his works. Each volume includes large headings, subheadings, fact boxes, and plenty of full-color photos, making it easy for readers to locate and refer back to information.
Perhaps the most biographical of the set, The Life And Times Of William Shakespeare includes information about his early life, his education, and a brief summary about his family, but more of the book is given over to how his works were influenced and inspired by England's politics and culture.
Likewise, the other three books in the series give great introductions to the various topics (comedies, tragedies, history plays and poems) without diving so far into the subjects that a Shakespeare novice would be confused.
The series does a good job of compressing complicated subjects into short paragraphs while still offering an option for more information. For instance, the chapters containing the history plays often include a fact box highlighting the actual historical figure, like the real Richard II.
This four-volume set follows Britannica's reputation of trustworthy and concise summarization. This series is not for those looking for in-depth analysis or literary criticism. In comparison to the Encyclopedia Britannica's Guide to Shakespeare, the information does not stray very far from the text available in the online version, so this series serves as a great backup for libraries.
Lancaster from Bolingbroke without proper legal authority, he manages to alienate many nobles and to encourage Bolingbroke’s return from exile. That return, too, is illegal, but it is a fact, and, when several of the nobles (including York) come over to Bolingbroke’s side, Richard is forced to abdicate. The rights and wrongs of this power struggle are masterfully ambiguous. History proceeds without any sense of moral imperative. Henry IV is a more capable ruler, but his authority is tarnished by
of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 are Matthew MacFayden (seated) as Prince Hal and Michael Gambon as Falstaff, at the Royal National Theatre in London. Elliot Franks/WireImage/Getty Images Henry IV’s son John of Lancaster is leading the ongoing war against the Welsh chieftain, Owen Glendower, and Hotspur’s father, Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. The swaggering Falstaff has become even more corpulent and outrageous, sponging off his hostess, Mistress Quickly, abusing the Lord Chief
enemy leaders as a condition of their disbanding their forces). Henry talks, yet again, about a pilgrimage so that he can die in the Holy Land. After a misunderstanding in which Hal—thinking his father has died—removes the crown from the king’s pillow and leaves the sickroom, father and son are reconciled on the king’s deathbed. The wily Henry advises Hal to avoid internal strife during his own reign by seeking foreign quarrels. Hal prepares to become king, setting aside his previous frivolous
Before becoming king, he was known as Henry Bolingbroke. He first entered politics in 1386 as an opponent of the crown. In 1387–89, with Thomas Mowbray (later 1st duke of Norfolk) and others, he outlawed Richard’s closest associates and forced the king to submit. It was a circumstance Richard never forgave. Bolingbroke went on Crusade into Lithuania (1390) and Prussia (1392). In 1398 Bolingbroke was banished. When John of Gaunt died in 1399 and the crown seized his lands, Bolingbroke invaded
Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales—d. Aug. 31, 1422, Bois de Vincennes, Fr.) Henry was the eldest son of Henry, earl of Derby (afterward Henry IV), by Mary de Bohun. When he was only 16 years old he was in command of the English forces that defeated the Percys and Neville at Shrewsbury. He helped put down the Welsh revolt, and in 1411 he led an expedition to France. His father’s long illness brought him heavy political responsibilities. Despite his early entry into public life, he was well