Originally published in 1984. With selections organised chronologically, this collection presents the best writing on one of Shakespeare’s most studied plays. The structure displays the changing responses to the play and includes a wide range of criticism from the likes of Coleridge, Hazlitt, Moulton, Granville-Barker, Orwell, Levin, Stampfer, Gardner and Speaight interspersed with short entries from Keats, Raleigh, Freud and others. The final chapter by the editor elucidates his own thoughts on Lear, building on his commentary in the Introduction which puts the collection in context.
Preface Joseph Price Preface Kenneth Muir Introduction Kenneth Muir 1. Notes from the Plays of William Shakespeare Samuel Johnson 2. from On the Tragedies of Shakespeare Charles Lamb 3. Notes on King Lear Samuel Taylor Coleridge 4. from Characters of Shakespear’s Plays William Hazlitt 5. On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again from Letter to George and Tom Keats John Keats 6. How Climax Meets Climax in the Centre of Lear Richard G. Moulton 7. from Shakespearean Tragedy A. C. Bradley 8. from Shakespeare Walter Raleigh 9. The Theme of the Three Caskets Sigmund Freud 10. King Lear H. Granville-Barker 11. King Lear and the Comedy of the Grotesque G. Wilson Knight 12. The Court-Fool in Elizabethan Drama Enid Welsford 13. Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool George Orwell 14. from This Great Stage Robert B. Heilman 15. from Character and Society in Shakespeare Arthur Sewell 16. from The Dreams of Learning D. G. James 17. The Heights and the Depths: A Scene from King Lear Harry Levin 18. King Lear L. C. Knights 19. Some Aspects of the Style of King Lear Winifred M. T. Nowottny 20. The Catharsis of King Lear J. Stampfer 21. The Ending of King Lear Nicholas Brooke 22. King Lear: Action and World Maynard Mack 23. from King Lear Helen Gardner 24. Shakespeare in Britain Robert Speaight 25. Epilogue Kenneth Muir