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King Lear (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , R.A. Foakes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

9 May 1997 1903436591 978-1903436592 3rd Revised edition
'By far the best edition of King Lear - in respect of both textual and other matters - that we now have.'John Lyon, English Language Notes'This volume is a treasure-trove of precise information and stimulating comments on practically every aspect of the Lear-universe. I know of no other edition which I would recommend with such confidence: to students, professional colleagues and also the 'educated public'.'Dieter Mehl, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, vol 134

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Product details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; 3rd Revised edition edition (9 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436592
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised on 26 April 1564. Thought to have been educated at the local grammar school, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he went on to have three children, at the age of eighteen, before moving to London to work in the theatre. Two erotic poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were published in 1593 and 1594 and records of his plays begin to appear in 1594 for Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare's tragic period lasted from around 1600 to 1608, during which period he wrote plays including Hamlet and Othello. The first editions of the sonnets were published in 1609 but evidence suggests that Shakespeare had been writing them for years for a private readership.

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, by now a wealthy man. He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623.

(The portrait details: The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. NPG1, © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Product Description

Amazon Review

King Lear stands alongside Hamlet as one of the most profound expressions of tragic drama in literature. Written between 1604 and 1605, it represents Shakespeare at the height of his dramatic power. Drawing on ancient British history, Shakespeare constructs a plot that reads like a fable in its clear-sighted but terrifying simplicity. The ageing King Lear calls his daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, to witness that he wishes "to shake all cares and business from our age" and divide his kingdom between his three children. When Cordelia refuses to flatter her father with sycophantic words of love, her banishment leads to chaos and civil war as Lear's disastrous "division of the kingdom" gives free reign to the greed and ambition of his two remaining daughters.

As Lear sinks into rage and madness he is deserted by everyone except his "bitter" Fool, the loyal Kent and the exiled Cordelia. The play descends into a nighmarish theatre of cruelty and absurdity as Lear realises he has "ta'en/Too little care" of the poverty and corruption of his kingdom, and his loyal but foolish friend Gloucester has his eyes gouged out. Metaphors of monstrosity and perversions of nature structure the dramatic action, and the play's ending remains one of the most harrowing in all of Shakespeare. Many see a profound despair and nihilism in King Lear, and would agree with Kent's conclusion that "All's cheerless, dark, and deadly". Other writers have identified a radical but pessimistic critique of contemporary conceptions of kingship and absolutist authority, yet it remains a remarkable tragedy of public misjudgement and intensely private grief and anguish. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

R. A. Foakes is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has also taught or held fellowships at Yale, Birmingham, Durham, Kent, Toronto, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Australian National University, Canberra. He has written extensively on "King Lear "in his book, "Hamlet versus Lear: Cultural Politics and Shakespeare's Art."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
King Lear stands like a colossus at the centre of Shakespeare's achievement as the grandest effort of his imagination. Read the first page
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Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Conflation' fights back 31 Aug 2009
By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Although RA Foakes' Arden³ edition appeared some years after those of Wells & Taylor (Complete Oxford) and Jay L Halio (Cambridge) it did not follow their precedent of issuing separate texts based on Quarto and Folio originals. These early texts (Q 1608 and F 1623 respectively) occasionally offer quite different versions of the play and reconciling them to form a single, coherent whole is a task that is, arguably, less elegant than the dual edition solution. By comparison, Arden's text looks cumbersome, with numerous Q and F superscripts surrounding passages found exclusively in one or other source.

Foakes is well aware that his single, 'conflated' text isn't as fashionable as those of the 'revisionists' mentioned above, who believe that the Folio text of Lear represents Shakespeare's revised and final draft, and that modern editors should not pick and mix between Q and F but respect the integrity of the two early sources. While seemingly reactionary, Foakes is in fact countering the new orthodoxy of Halio et al. In his view, their 'dogmatic and purist stance ... abandons the idea of King Lear as a single work of which we have two versions.' He is cautious and level-headed in his approach, acknowledging the limitations of scholarly speculation. And in presenting both Q and F variants he allows the reader to make up his/her own mind.

Aside from this central controversy, the Arden³ Lear has much to offer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arden Shakespeares are excellent 28 Sep 2011
By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The Arden Shakespeare is an ideal script, guide and notes for students, young and old, although I would not recommend it to any studying lower than Advanced Level; the Oxford and Cambridge guides and notes are sufficient for GCSE and they have photographs of characters and performances to illustrate.

The Ardens have lengthy sections on backgrounds to the plays and copious annotations and notes on the script itself; on some pages, contingent on the complexity of the text concerned, the notes take up more of the page than the script itself (one reason for not recommending it below Advanced Level). It has a vast source of detail, history and information on the play. They are also very well produced, sewn sections glued in, making them strong and long lasting.

Highly recommended for Advanced Level students or above.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Lear (The Arden Shakespear Third Series) 16 Oct 2013
By lady G
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son, who is in Year 12 at school and is studying this play. The book was recommended by his English teacher because it contains explanatory notes about the text of the play and it is very well explained and easy to understand.

I've not heard my son complain and he is coping with the course very well with the aid of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sneaky daughters and power hungry father 2 Jan 2014
By SC, UK
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
could be a modern sitcom as it is a timeless theme with gripping dialogue as usual by our treasured bard
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 30 Sep 2013
By Sally
Format:Paperback
Arden editions of any Shakespeare are always the best. A fine classic and a joy to read. Also excellent value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 23 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My son needed this for his A Level English and has very much enjoyed the book and also reviewing it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kind Lear DVD 6 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fast delivery well packaged and great copy. My daughter in law and her daughter arei studing for their degree and have found this dvd very usfull.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Study volume 19 Jan 2013
By Pamela
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I chose Arden for the copious notes and information. Lear is a study in loyalty and humility, and it's a tortuous road for Lear until, just a bit late, he realises what's important!
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