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The life and death of King John; Paperback – September 7, 2010
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`This edition offers the most substantial and one of the most penetrating discussions of the play to date. A remarkable scholarly achievement.' Dr Rene J.A. Weis, Department of English, University College, London
`a most impressive and illuminating edition' R. N. Alexander, Queen Mary Westfield, London
`The major strength of Professor Braunmuller's edition is its introduction. He offers a sane review of such difficult questions as the date of the play, and such controversial ones as its relation to "The Troublesome Reign". The evidence is marshalled in a lucid manner and sensible conclusions drawn ... This is a significant contribution to the (now quickly developing) debate on "King John", and a good demonstration that investigations of Shakespeare as a political dramatist (as opposed to a moral sage) need not be critically reductive.' The Review of English Studies
`By its 'conventionally ordered introduction' (p.1), A.R. Braunmuller's Oxford King John signals that it is, indeed what the dustjacket claims, 'the most thorough scholarly edition now available' ... his edition foregrounds technical material important to scholars over more general interests ... Braunmuller's approach to editing is as fair-minded and scholarly as his introduction ... the King John that sets out the issues most fully and fairly, the edition I want in my study, is Braunmuller's 'conventionally ordered', scholarly text.' Virginia Mason Vaughan, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, Yearbook of English Studies, 1992
'Stanley Wells' OUP Complete Works of Shakespeare is now eight years old and has spawned a new Oxford Shakespeare which appears now in splendidly affordable volumes in that nonpareil of libraries of good reading The World's Classics.' The Oxford Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
The play revolves around young Arthur, rightful heir to the throne that John has so ignobly usurped. King Philip of France supports Arthur's claim and threatens an invasion. John invades France first and the result is a comedy of errors revolving around both armies and the town of Angiers in France. The looming battle is resolved by the marriage of Blanche, niece to King John, and Lewis, Dauphin of France.Read more ›
The Pelican series edition of this play has a very nice introduction by Claire McEachern in which she gives an informative discourse on the character of Philip the Bastard. Although Philip usually gets all the critical attention in this piece my favorite character is Constance, sister in law to King John and the mother of John’s rival for the English throne. Act III:1 give Constance a chance to really show her stuff. She has some blistering moments, and Act III as a whole is by far the most engaging and strongest in the play. Constance’s exit from the piece is her best scene and Shakespeare writes a grieving mother’s storm of emotions as strongly as in any of his other works.
At its core “King John” is really a play about the medieval issues brought about by “Pope v. Prince” and how secular and religious power used each other for gain. You can almost feel Shakespeare’s Protestant Elizabethan audience hissing at the machinations of the Catholic villain Cardinal Pandulph as he manipulates the French and English royal powers in some of the plays most intriguing scenes. Another fine moment is Act III:3 when King John and Hubert share a conversation that is delicious in its duplicity, and all of it achieved with minimal words.
Despite a weak Act V (the only reason I feel this is not a 4 star effort by Shakespeare) the play ends on a patriotic note, sounding a clarion call for Englishmen to always unite in common cause.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the play, and that is all it is. No notes. No introduction. No help in understanding the play. Buy a good edition. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bruce D. Bruce
Today, King John of England (who reigned from 1199 to 1216) is most noted for granting the Magna Carta to his barons. Read morePublished 7 months ago by R. M. Peterson
it's shakespere. what else can I can add that has already been written.Published 9 months ago by joseph
text and history cannot be beat in any other edition...arden wins every time...Published 22 months ago by ellen urbon
this was the wrong version. I returned it for the Folger version rated belowPublished 23 months ago by John I. Levitt
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. Read morePublished on March 3, 2014 by Stephen