Originally published in 1988. Arranged by play, the essays presented here focus first on production and then on a range of other issues such as characters, imagery, textual problems and themes. Both plays were more popular in earlier centuries and most later essayists focused on small issues rather than view the plays in wider perspective. More recent pieces included here seek organising principles for King John and look in more detail at Henry VIII. Beginning with the in-depth introduction by the editor, this collection shows the reception of the play by its Elizabethan audience compared to twentieth century audiences and looks at the history portrayed by Shakespeare. Some chapters review very varied stage productions while others are character analysis or individual focuses.
Preface Joseph G. Price Introduction Frances A. Shirley Part 1: King John 1. from Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq. Thomas Davies 2. from A View of the English Stage; or, A Series of Dramatic Criticisms William Hazlitt 3. from Shakespeare’s Histories Arthur Colby Sprague 4. King John and the Drama of History Eugene M. Waith 5. from The Dramatic Censor or Critical Companion Francis Gentleman 6. from Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays William Hazlitt 7. from Shakespeare’s History Plays E. M. W. Tillyard 8. from Shakespeare’s Imagery and What it Tells Us Caroline F. E. Spurgeon 9. The Road to Swinstead Abbey: A Study of the Sense and Structure of King John Adrien Bonjour 10. Commodity and Honour in King John James L. Calderwood 11. from The Cease of Majesty M. M. Reese 12. Introduction to The New Penguin Shakespeare: King John Robert L. Smallwood Part 2: Henry VIII 13. from The Boston Evening Transcript, January 9, 1894 Tremont Theatre: Henry VIII 14. from The Advertiser, January 9, 1894 Mr Irving Opens the Week at the Tremont 15. from The Boston Traveller, January 10, 1894 Irving’s King Henry VIII, A Production Notable from Every Standpoint 16. A Stratford Production: Henry VIII Muriel St. Clare Byrne 17. from Dramatic Intention and Theatrical Realization Muriel St. Clare Byrne 18. On the Several Shares of Shakespeare and Fletcher in the Play of Henry VIII James Spedding 19. The Authorship of Henry the Eighth Marjorie H. Nicholson 20. from Characters of Shakespeare’s Plays William Hazlitt 21. from Characteristics of Women, Moral, Political and Historical Anna Jameson 22. The Wheel of Fortune and the Maiden Phoenix of Shakespeare’s King Henry the Eighth Lee Bliss 23. from Two Shakespearian Sequences: Henry VI to Richard II and Pericles to Timon of Athens F. W. Brownlow 24. from Unconformities in Shakespeare’s History Plays Kristian Smidt