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King Lear (No Fear Shakespeare) Paperback – July 3, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1586638535 ISBN-10: 158663853X

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Product Details

  • Series: No Fear Shakespeare
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: SparkNotes (July 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158663853X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586638535
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

Customer Reviews

The definitely make Shakespeare more readable.
D. Osborne
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to understand Shakespeare's works.
dj
The modern translations are accurate and easy to understand.
Terri Teacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mary Dirkx Jorn on January 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Years ago when my husband's father, a farmer for many years, first saw large round-style hay bales, he wept with joy because, since these new bales could not be lifted by hand, he knew farmworkers would no longer need to risk the heavy, injurious previous work of stacking and transporting their hay.

I know how he felt. It nearly brought tears to my eyes to first experience reading a No Fear Shakespeare. I cannot overstate the ease this text brings to the pleasure and excitement of a Shakespeare play. If you have wanted to read Shakespeare but found the language too archaic to understand, if you have enjoyed reading Shakespeare but not the time it took to plow through the footnotes and concordances, if you have been assigned to read Shakespeare plays for a class and want to know which edition to use, if you have always meant to read Shakespeare to find out for yourself what "all the fuss" is about - this is the version to read.

As for the play King Lear itself, it is a beautiful, painful, truthful story of a human being in all his prideful flaws, who learns to understand himself and his relations with others, even though paying the ultimate tragic price. Shakespeare's genius is telling a story that we all can relate to, and part of you will be right there on the heath in the storm raging with Lear.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Big D VINE VOICE on February 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Masterful as always, this tragic story of the aging King Lear.

Caring for an aging parent? Wondering who is going to take care of you when you get old? Wondering how you will be treated in your old age?Thinking about Estate Planning? Read King Lear!!!

Shakespeare is still "da man," and "No Fear" is the only way to read him. Don't miss this, one of his best works...

It's better than "All My Children" on ABC!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristen on January 13, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a savior for me in class. Seriously, if you have any trouble understanding what is even going on in any Shakespeare play (I had a lot of trouble), buy this. It is a miracle inside of book. One side of the page has the actual text and the other side basically translates it into more modern English.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By George Foxworth on July 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Side by side pages of Shakespearian text and modern interpretation make for interesting study. I purchased this book for my child who has little or no background in Shakespeare. She found it a very helpful means to prepare for a visit to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival and a performance of Lear.
I didn't give it four or five stars because there were points in the text where I thought that the interpreter got it wrong. That's a subjective judgement, but so is an interpretation or a translation.
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By greenpuppy on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Going go see the play soon and for the first time, thanks to the "No Fear" version, I feel that I really have a grasp of the fine details of the plot. Made it fun to read and definitely understandable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I paid $6.95 for a new book, and I got a used one. I don't mind that it's used, but I paid more thinking it was new. It has someone else's name in it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dj on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This No Fear Shakespeare version of King Lear is great. I've read the play several times, and seen it performed at least twice, but I've gotten more out of the story from this version than any of the other versions. The translation to modern English is perfect. I found myself going back and forth between Shakespeare's original and the translation quite often, but only to fully appreciate the poetry of Elizabethan language. By reading this unique page to page translation, you really get a fuller picture of the genius of Shakespeare's writing, for one side focuses on the action and characterization while the other side is the original in its poetic form.

This book is just one in the "No Fear" Series. These books bring the plays back to everyday people--who were the majority of the Bard's audience at the public theatres in London 400 years ago. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to understand Shakespeare's works. I've also read "Twelfth Night" and "Romeo and Juliet" in this series, both of which are good. I plan to read others as well.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Booklover on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never liked Shakespeare. I never understood Shakespeare. Then along came No Fear Shakespeare and now I not only get it, but am eager to read more of the bard. King Lear has it all - arrogance, greed, love, hate, redemption - what a great story! I heartily recommend.
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