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King Lear


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • William Shakespeare 1564-1616
  • King Lear
  • King Lear
  • In Context
  • The Shakespearean Theater
  • The Swan Theatre
  • Titus Andronicus in Performance
  • The Plot of an Elizabethan Play
  • Early Editions of King Lear
  • Source Material
  • from Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain (12th century)
  • Cap o' Rushes
  • from Anonymous, The True Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters (1605)
  • from Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577, 1587)
  • from Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590)
  • The Annesley Case
  • from Samuel Harsnett, A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1603)
  • King Lear on Stage in the Seventeenth Century
  • from Richard Johnson, "The Ballad of King Lear and his Three Daughters" (1620)
  • from Nahum Tate, The History of King Lear (1681)

About the Author

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), poet and playwright, is generally considered the greatest dramatist in the English language.


"The Broadview chooses the Folio as the basic text, but, significantly, adds notes throughout that point out the differences appearing in the Quarto version. In addition, in the case of the three scenes in which differences are most pronounced, the anthology prints both Folio and Quarto versions side by side. This method opens up illuminating and exciting possibilities in the classroom.... I regard the unhesitating confrontation with the difficulties of King Lear that is shown by the Broadview editors as a microcosmic illustration of the toughness, determination, and conscientiousness of the editors throughout this entire British literature anthology." - Robert H. Ray, Baylor University (author of Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare's King Lear)

"... an exciting achievement ... It sets a new standard by which all other anthologies of British Literature will now have to be measured." - Graham Hammill, SUNY-Buffalo"The Broadview Anthology of British Literature is no mere pretender to the throne long held by Norton; it is the new standard." - Richard Nordquist, Armstrong Atlantic State University

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