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SACCIO:SHAKESPEARE'S ENG KINGS 2E P Kindle Edition

36 customer reviews

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Length: 296 pages

Editorial Reviews

Review


Praise for the previous edition: "So well written is this book that one does not need a purpose to pursue it. Even so, it makes excellent background reading for all of the Shakespearean history plays."--New York Times Book Review


Review


Praise for the previous edition: "So well written is this book that one does not need a purpose to pursue it. Even so, it makes excellent background reading for all of the Shakespearean history plays."--New York Times Book Review



Product Details

  • File Size: 1380 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (February 28, 2000)
  • Publication Date: February 28, 2000
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00524ZNWE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,602 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on April 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think I would have enjoyed this book more had I not read Norwich's book on Shakespeare's kings before I read this one. Norwich did a much better job of going through the history and, in particular, of comparing the history to Shakespeare's plays. Plus, Norwich's writing was much more vivid and engaging.
On the other hand, Saccio does a very good job of going through the history of Shakespeare's kings in a logical manner. He does not waste words and presents a story that is quick and easy to digest. Like Norwich, Saccio focuses mainly on the kings from Richard II through Henrys IV, V, and VI to Richard III. Unlike Norwich, however, Saccio also discusses King John and Henry VIII.
For anyone who is interested in knowing what really went on in the lives of these Shakespearean kings, this book is an excellent tool. Saccio points out some of the most important fallacies in the plays and is fair in presenting honest assessments of the realities of these characters even when they conflict with the dynamic images drawn by the Bard. This second edition also has a nice afterward that comments on some of the Shakespearean scholarship of the past 25 years. It is a worthwhile read.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on October 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Shakespeare, more than any professional historian, is responsible for the way we think about the English Plantagenet kings. As Peter Saccio argues, "It is he who has etched upon the common memory the graceful fecklessness of Richard II, the exuberant heroism of Henry V, the dazzling villainy of Richard III."
We recognize that Shakespeare created plays for entertainment, not tutorials for history lessons. But somehow Shakespeare's English kings seem so authentic, so much more real than the kings of history texts. And recent historical research and reinterpretation now indicates that Shakespeare's characterizations indeed appear more accurate than we had previously realized. Saccio states, "Shakespeare knew how his late medieval characters looked at things."
Dr. Saccio (Dartmouth College) has created a delightful book that explores how Shakespeare's imagination and actual history are tightly intertwined. He examines history as understood at the time of Shakespeare, as we understand English history today, and how Shakespeare knowingly revised history for dramatic impact.
Saccio's style is very engaging. This book is not only a guide to more fully appreciating Shakespeare's plays, but it is also an enjoyable look at English history. I highly recommend this book for all readers - those new to Shakespeare's histories and those quite familiar with Shakespeare's English kings.
I previously reviewed Desmond Seward's "The Hundred Years War, the English in France, 1337-1453" and suggested that it would serve as a useful background for understanding Henry V. I still recommend reading Seward's book and I still believe that a four star rating is appropriate. I only wish now that I could give Saccio's "Shakespeare's English Kings" more than five stars. I cannot recommend it too highly.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M. Perez on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Great book for those looking to get a quick background on the historical events behind Shakespeare's History Plays. Saccio covers all the major points in each King's life and contrasts them very well against Shakespeare's dramatic choices. Presents a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in medieval English history and Shakespeare without tons of time or resources to dedicate. Perfect for students. A must in any Shakesperean enthusiast's library.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By FS Mom on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been recommending this book for years. Informative, insightful, and entertaining, this book is a must-read for English majors and Shakespeare fans. Saccio does a marvelous job of putting the English history plays in the context of the contemporary understanding of the events and people Shakespeare portrayed, with a discussion of the primary source texts. Along with this, the book examines the political situation of Shakespeare's own day, with which Shakepeare's audience would find parallels to the events of the plays. Saccio also addresses the more recent understandings of the underlying historical events. While the book is offers a detailed and knowledgeable analysis, it is accessible and engaging for a casual reader. Saccio as an essayist is second only to Saccio as a professor!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David James Trapp on October 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Peter Saccio's Shakespeare's English Kings is a concise, balanced review of the history behind the kings referred to in Shakespeare's Canon. Each of the kings (plus other important figures) receives coverage so that the reader has a good understanding for the background for each of the 10 history plays. Shakespeare had limited historical references (mostly Holinshed), and he was biased at times by the need to curry to Tutor propaganda (especially in Richard III). Saccio explains this with good research, ably explained. Serious students would benefit from reading this book, as would the casual theater buff. A good book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on October 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This reviewer first became acquainted with Dr. Peter Saccio by viewing his 36 class course on Shakespeare in the Learning Company DVD series.

Intrigued by his skill in making Shakespeare understandable I picked up a copy of Shakespeare's English Kings. This slim volume provides the historical knowledge needed of each of the king's reigns to enhance appreciation of the Shakespearean plays.

The kings covered are:

Richard II-The Fall of the King

Henry IV-The King Embattled

Henry V-The King victorious-deals with his victory at Agincourt in 1415.

Henry VI-a good survey of this weak headed king's long and disastrous reign.

Henry VI-Edward IV-Deals with the War of the Roses rivalry between the dynastic houses of Lancaster and York.

Richard III-the last Plantagenet-Shakespeare made use of several myths about this king who was nevertheless anything but a boy scout!

John-the Angevin king who succeeded his brother Richard of Lionheart as King-Magna Charta and all that!

Henry VIII-The dissolute but astute Tudor king who made England a modern nation through diplomacy, governmental reform and dissolution of papal ties.

Some readers will be perplexed by all the Richards, Edwards, Henrys and

become confused. A close reading will help as well as ample use of the dynastic geneological charts provided by Saccio.

The book was written in 1977 and revised over twenty years later. If I was teaching a course on the English history plays this book would be required reading.
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