An excellent reading copy: beautifully produced, with well-judged notes and a user-friendly manner. Its weakness is that, instead of seeing King Lear as a major cultural document written in the dominant literary form of its time - the commercial play - it sees it as primarily a text for performance. It reproduces the text included in the Complete Works published in 2007 under the auspices of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The RSC Shakespeare was a major event in English studies. It returned the plays to their condition in 1623, when the first collected edition was published under the aegis of the King's Men, the acting company Shakespeare had belonged to. Half the plays, however, had already been published individually, most of them in versions as authentic as those of the collected edition. King Lear was one of them, published in 1608, a couple of years after its first performance. The collected edition prints a shortened version of this play; it tidies it up, but also impoverishes it by omitting important moments in the play's meaning and emotion. The obvious remedy for this is to restore the omissions, which has been the common editorial practice since the eighteenth century. The RSC editors, though, committed to a view of the later text as a final acting version, are reluctant to do this, and print the omitted passages in a lengthy appendix. This is a shame; and it's a bit of an irony that the edition of Lear previously preferred by the RSC, the New Penguin Shakespeare, which restores the omissions, actually presents a version of the play that is richer and more nuanced, and one closer to Shakespeare's original and fullest conception.