on 25 August 2013
I studied King Lear for my Enlgish Literature A-Level and this was a brilliant copy for that purpose. There is ample room for annotation and the book also provides explanation of words which may not be understood and provides other useful information. This copy of the play is perfect for students and I would recommend it to anyone. As for the play itself, it is highly enjoyable and dramatic and has definately increased my enjoyment of Shakespeare.
on 13 June 2013
Maybe the fifteenth time I've read Lear (this time in the tiny red-leather RSC edition, during morning walks). Always impressed, especially with the curses and curse-like screeds. I can't stand Lear onstage, particularly the blinding of Gloster (so spelled in this edition). How sharper than a serpants teeth it is / to have a thankless child--though having a thankless parent like Lear, Act I Sc I, ain't so great either. I do love the Russian film Lear with music by Shostakovich, and the King's grand route through his bestiary of hawks and eagles.
I suppose this is Shakespeare's great assessment of homelessness. The undeservingly roofless. "Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, / That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,/ How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides...defend you/ From seasons such as this?" Lear asks, and reflects, "O, I have ta'en too little care of this!" (3.4.25ff).
Shakespeare even anticipates Marx (not Groucho) when he has the blinded Gloster say, "So distribution should undo excess, / And each man have enough..." (4.1) He is speaking to his disguised son-madman. In fact, social justice emerges throughout this play, a theme as prominent as in Measure for Measure.
Lear is also his only play on retirement, which he apparently recommends against. Or perhaps Lear should have had a condo in Florida? Of course, his hundred knights, a problem for the condominium board, as it was for his daughters. And Shakespeare, who says in a sonnet he was "lame by fortune's despite" also addresses the handicapped here, recommending tripping blind persons to cheer them up.
Of course, Lear has his personal Letterman-Colbert, the Fool, so he doesn't need a TV in the electrical storm on the heath. That's fortunate, because it would have been dangerous to turn on a TV with all that lightening. The play seems also to recommend serious disguises like Kent's dialects and Edgar's mud. Next time I go to a party I'll think about some mud, which reduces Edgar's likelihood of being killed by his former friends.
And finally, the play touches on senility, where Lear cannot be sure at first Cordelia is his daughter.
I'm not sure, but the author may be recommending senility as a palliative to tragedy--and to aging. A friend of mine once put it, "Who's to say the senile's not having the time of his life?"
on 27 June 2013
Considering I bought this product to learn quotations for my A Level English Lit exam, it was incredibly disappointing to note the
various spelling and grammar issues within the play.
However the play is formatted in an easy to read style and is easy to navigate using the search system. As a student, having Shakespeare in electronic form has long-term benefits due to the ease of note making and bookmarking.
on 8 April 2013
I am quite fussy when it comes to an edition of a Shakespeare text, due to the modern language translations. In some editions, the notes or translations are crammed in at the bottom of the page, which is difficult to read and can be at times confusing. The New Longman edition is, however, by far the best example I have found to date. The right hand page has the original text, and the notes and basic translations (where required) are on the left hand page next to it, making for easier reading.
I also found the edition had good notes in it.
I have used this particular edition through my own A Levels, degree, and am still using it as a teacher.
Would I recommend it? 100% yes!
on 5 March 1999
I am a theatre arts instructor and I feel that this book is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare's plays. I feel, as do many other people in my field, that the plays of William Shakespeare are meant to be seen as opposed to read. The comic book format gives you the best of both worlds. I have given this book to students who claim not to be able to understand Shakespeare and they literally tear through this book. Very high marks as far as this Professor is concerned!!!
on 18 December 2013
Brilliant - a total and devastating tragedy - a plot of greed, loyalty and lust. A tale
of sadness and love which shuttles out of control to heartbreak, suicidal declaration, despair and wasteful deaths.
Some say that if Shakespeare had only ever written this one play that it would still be performed and that we would still remember his name, thankfully though he gave us many more. King Lear is itself based on a Celtic legend that Shakespeare with his incomparable skill breathed new life in to.
When the world weary and old Lear decides to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters things start to go wrong. His first two daughters know how to impress the king with their words, but alas his third and favourite daughter is more prone to speaking the truth, thus causing her to be disinherited and ultimately banished. Cordelia this youngest daughter has two suitors, the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France, however Burgundy relinquishes any hold that he may have on her due to the fact that she is now dowerless, not so the King of France who becomes more enamoured due to her forthrightness. Kent tries to intervene for Cordelia but finds himself banished.
It does not take long for Lear to realise his mistake when he is being countermanded and in effect ruled by his two elder daughters. Whilst this is going on Gloucester's bastard son has started his machinations to get his legitimate half-brother disinherited. With loyalty, madness and treachery this play will grab you and keep you absorbed, and will stay with you long after the last page has been read. Lear's decline into madness is powerful stuff, and Shakespeare really gets deep into the psyche of his characters, thus revealing the darkness not in just their souls but in all of us.
This is powerful and heady stuff that will have you gripped. With this edition there are extras that will hopefully help you to appreciate this play more, as well as being of help to an actor coming to this for the first time, or for students.
After a few decade hiatus, I've been reading (or re-reading, as in this case) the works of Shakespeare. Principle themes in King Lear involve the aging process, "letting go," and the (seemingly inevitable) dissent among the children, particularly if some money is involved. These are all eternal themes, and Shakespeare has set a good "benchmark."
Lear has made it four score years; frailty, mental and physical have set in. Like so many, he wants to ensure his "legacy." He has three daughters, Cordelia, Regan and Goneril. He asks each to profess their love for him. The latter two are profuse in their praise, as well as hypocritical. Cordelia is neither, but she is true in her love, and is disinherited for her efforts. She will go on to marry the King of France. And this sets in motion forces that will lead to literal war among the three daughters and their husbands.
There is also a major subplot, involving Edmund, who is the illegitimate son of Gloucester, and Edgar, who is legitimate. Edmund is a true villain, and successfully plots Edgar's ejection as heir. As he says: "A credulous father! And a brother noble, whose nature is so far from doing harms, that he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty my practices ride easy. I see the business. Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit: All with me's meet that I can fashion fit."
Some other memorable quotes that have resonated through the ages: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child. Away, Away." "And let not women's weapons, water-drops, stain my man's cheeks." And hasn't the following truth always been with us: "Our present business is general woe." Concerning her father, Regan says: "Tis the infirmity of his age; yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself."
After having now read several of the tragedies, there is a very familiar trajectory to the plot, which is a very foreshortened variation of John Maynard Keynes famous quip: "In the long-run, we are all dead." In Lear, it is in the short-run of the play that virtually all the principal characters share that fate. True to form, the influence of the Greek tragedies is heavy, with the "fool" providing a useful foil, Lear is condemned to his fate by his own hubristic actions, and there is even a character, Gloucester, who is blinded, and must wander, or as one of the daughters jibs: Let him use his nose to find his way back to Dover.
I continue to be impressed how these "school assignment" plays demonstrate immense insight into the human condition, and remain relevant today. However, think I am ready for a comedy, where not everyone is dead in the end, long or short-term. 5-stars.
on 30 January 2014
Well I bought this for my English class, and got shouted at because it is the wrong edition. It's alright. Not too keen on the massive backtrack to Edmund's personality... I can't believe he goes from sociopath to best character in a heartbeat.
on 23 July 1997
In translating Shakespeare to comic book form Ian Pollock must interpet stage direction and consider character development as a director might. To read Shakespeare is to miss both the aural experience and the visual, and necessaraly each players interpretation of his/her role. This comic book format helps replace some of that which is lost. Pollock's interpretation is excellent, and his illustrative style captures the ugliness of Lear very well. One does long for beauty in his illustrations from time to time, but on the whole his interpretation works. What is most facinating perhaps is pollock's appeal to children. The visual ellement helps illucidate the text and make difficult scenes intelligable to children. Middle School aged children will have little difficulty understanding and being facinated by this rich and wonderful play.