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Richard II Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Washington Square Press New Folger's ed edition (February 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671722832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671722838
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,720,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Academic Programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, Chair of the Folger Institute, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare's Romances and of essays on Shakespeare's plays and on the editing of the plays.

Paul Werstine is Professor of English at King's College and the Graduate School of the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is the author of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare's plays and was Associate Editor of the annual Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England from 1980 to 1989.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard II, the weak and unwise King of England, is trapped amongst a group of flattering sycophants. He unwisely meditates in a fight between Mowbray and Henry Bolingbroke. He exiles Mowbray for life and Bolingbroke for ten, later reduced on behalf of John of Gaunt to six years. John of Gaunt dies and Richard II confiscates his lands and titles for the sake of putting down Owen Glendower (Historically Owain Glyn Dwr)'s invasion of england. Meanwhile, Bolingbroke brings troops against Richard, assisted by Northumberland. To find out the ending, you should read it yourself. This was the first complete play I read by Shakespeare. The Folger Guides are so helpful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
richard ii chronicles the events that began the so-called war of the roses, the 14th century civil war between two branches of the royal family. it focuses on the usurpation of the crown by henry bolingbroke (later henry iv). in snatching the crown from his cousin richard, henry 'leapt over' the legitimate heir, his teenage nephew. thence began the internicine feud. historically, the play is pretty accurate. richard is portrayed as a feckless, flamboyant man who believed he had a divine right to rule and forgot that his earthly powers rested on the support of his followers, who he abused and neglected. the play does focus on richard's personality, and he gets a lot of nice lines, but it also focuses on the plotting and scheming that makes this period such an intersting one. richard ii is the first part of shakspeare's history tetralogy that continues in henry the iv, parts 1 and 2, and concludes in henry v. all are well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Miller on March 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To those, like myself, who may be somewhat daunted by reading Shakespeare, the newly-issued Folger Library editions of the plays are an excellent resource. These versions make the assumption that not just words but phrases may seem somewhat arcane and difficult to comprehend. The left-page notes are terrifically helpful in not only explaining meaning, but spelling out the context of the scenes as well. In the back of each of these volumes are longer notes which can help the reader delve even deeper into historical context. Most of the left-hand pages include illustrations and woodcuts from the era. For those who read Shakespeare somewhat infrequently, these are probably the best versions on the market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Headstone on July 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My only real complain on this play is that there is a slight inconsistency with the history that preceded it. To make a long story short, Richard II succeeded his grandfather Edward III. (Edward III outlived his son the Black Prince, and of course Richard II's father.) This left a 10 year old Richard II as king. Since Richard II was too young to reign, his uncle John of Gaunt struggled with rival uncle Thomas of Gloucester over control of the young king. While Uncle York is in the play, he was not really involved in the Gaunt/Gloucester struggle. While John of Gaunt (father of Bolingbroke) was honorable, virtuous, and made no attempt to replace King Richard II, Thomas of Gloucester was just the opposite. Time after time Gloucester tried to replace Richard, and time and time again, Richard II forgave him. (At one point, Bolingbroke and Gloucester worked together against Richard II.) Finally, Richard II had had enough, and Gloucester was arrested.

History isn't quite sure how Gloucester died, but along with Shakespeare, it suspects Richard II had him murdered. (Though we don't know for sure.) Now to the play, Richard II is listening to Bolingbroke's accusations against Thomas Mowbray. He accuses Mowbray of Gloucester's death. (We can see that Bolingbroke is not being n outstanding citizen if we know the history. Rather he is making another attempt at the crown.) Richard II agrees to trial by combat with the 2, but stops it at the last moment. We are now moved into sympathy with Mowbray and Bolingbroke who are now banished.

Another complaint I have is that John of Gaunt speaks so well of Gloucester, and this does not make sense. (While protecting Richard II, Gaunt battled long and bitterly with Gloucester, and it does not make sense that he would advocate for him now.
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A Kid's Review on October 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book if you have a teacher to help you understand it. The first time I read it I was about to fall asleep. Then when my teacher helped explain it to me, and I read it again, it wasn't so bad. After about the 4th time reading it, I actaully enjoyed it, if you believe it. If you attempt to read it, don't get too depressed after the first time reading it, have someone explain it to you, then read it again, is my advice.
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