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King John (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743484983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743484985
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Shakespeare Newsletter" It's hard to see how the New Folger Library's section on Shakespeare's language could be much better. An exceptionally good choice for an introductory text.

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on September 14, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I didn't really take pleasure in reading this one, it absolutely confirms the timeless nature of Shakespeare's works.

A king of England (who arrived at the throne under a cloud only hinted at in the play) leads his nation in war with France, and in the process orders ugly things be done in his name. Sycophants, schemers, and cynics critique his every move (without really accepting any responsibility themselves). An illegitimate cousin is the harshed critic and the voice of reason throughout. In the end, the innocent lose their lives, the king has to make sleazy deals, and it draws to a grim conclusion.

If you are a passionate fan of the Bard's comedies, you might give this one a pass.

Even in my four sentence summary, the timeless and unchanging reality of international politics comes through. There is a bit of dark relief though; whatever you think of politicians today, regardless of the hyperbole of people who exercise their First Amendment rights without exercising common courtesy or rational thought, the current crop of political leaders are neither better nor worse than the inspirations for a play written four hundred years ago.

Historically, the mildness of the political rhetoric is worthy of note, in contrast to the venom of others in England in the time. This is another play that benefits from an appreciation of the complexities and conflicts of Elizabethan England.

Reading this one was not pleasure, but possessed a grim satisfaction.

E. M. Van Court
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By King Dimholt on July 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the most isolated of all of Shakespeare's history plays. To be sure, "King Henry VIII" does not directly follow "Richard III." However, there is only a 35 year time span between the 2 plays, and King Henry VIII and Buckingham are both sons of characters in "Richard III." "King John" ends 182 years before its closest neighbor "King Richard II." (King John is in fact King Richard II's great, great, great, great, grandfather.) Well, onto the play. The play begins with John protecting his title in front of outside forces. While certain parties feel John's nephew Arthur is the true king, the truth of the matter is that the terms of succession had not been fully established. Richard I felt the young and impressionable Arthur would be too much of a puppet of the French King, and so Richard I named John as his heir. We then meet Phillip. In a dramatic scene, he forces a confession out of his mother. (That she had an affair with Richard I, and that Richard I is thus his father.) Onto Act 2. King John and the French King argue over who is the rightful king. Here, John comes off rather well in his defiance of those who challenge his claim to the crown. Constance (Arthur's mother) is flat out detestable in several ways. For one thing, she seems under the impression that the French King is supporting Arthur out of the kindness of his heart, when in fact any half way intelligent observer can see that the French King wants an English king who he can manipulate. Isaac Asimov says: "Phillip, (the French King, not Richard's son) after all, had upheld Arthur's cause in the first place only as far as it would serve his self interest." Well, John and the French King come to an agreement in that John's niece marries the French king's son and peace is made.Read more ›
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By Stephen on March 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For the price, this is a fair buy. The text is clear and of an appropriate quality for the price. There is no analysis or discussion of the play. You can get that for free from Wikipedia and Sparks Notes.
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By John I. Levitt on August 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this was the wrong version. I returned it for the Folger version rated below
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard on October 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like other Shakespeare works then you will like this. If you don't like Shakespeare's plays or if you need a more modern translation then don't get this. King John is a great play, which has war, double dealing, murder, suicide and intrigue. It is on par to some of his more well known plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, if not better.
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