Originally published in 1984. The four parts of this collection of articles, from 1601 to the 1970s, look at the historical and political dynamics of the play, the play in the theatre, the psychology of its characters, and its poetry and rhetoric. Bringing together the best that was written about Richard II, this volume represents the collective wisdom of Shakespeare scholars and provides the most insightful criticism in one place. An unpopular play for many years due to the perceived weak main character and the theme of deposition, the play later gained popularity and interest in its psychology and political investigation. The poetry in particular has garnered enthusiastic response and is mentioned in most of the pieces included here.
Preface Joseph G. Price Introduction Jeanne T. Newlin Part 1: The Historical and Political Dynamics 1. Remarks to William Lombarde (1601) Queen Elizabeth I 2. Introduction to Richard II (1939) John Dover Wilson 3. Shakespeare’s History Plays (1944) E. M. W. Tillyard 4. A Kingdom for a Stage (1972) Robert Ornstein 5. The King’s Two Bodies (1957) E. H. Kantorowicz 6. Bolingbroke, a True Machiavellian (1948) Irving Ribner Part 2: Richard II: The Theatre 7. F. R. Benson’s Richard II (1899) C. E. Montague 8. At Stratford-on-Avon (1901) William Butler Yeats 9. Shakespeare’s Histories at Stratford, 1951 (1952) T. C. Worsley 10. Letter to John Gielgud (1937) H. Granville Barker 11. Stage Directions (1963) John Gielgud 12. Shakespeare’s Plays in Performance (1966) John Russell Brown 13. John Barton’s Richard II (1976) Stanley Wells Part 3: Richard II: The Psychology of its Characters 14. Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton (1812) Samuel Taylor Coleridge 15. Shakespeare’s English Kings (1889) Walter Pater 16. The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (1891) E. K. Chambers 17. Bolingbroke’s ‘Decision’ (1951) Brents Stirling Part 4: Richard II: Poetry and Rhetoric 18. Letter to Mr. Chauvet Concerning the Unities of Time and Place in Tragedy (1820) Alessando Manzoni 19. King Richard II (1909) Algernon Charles Swinburne 20. Symphonic Imagery in Richard II (1947) Richard D. Altick