Arguably the first play in a Shakespearean tetralogy, Richard II is a unique and compelling political drama whose themes still resonate today. It is one of the few Shakespeare plays written entirely in verse and its format presents unique theatrical challenges. Politically engaged and controversial, it raises crucial debates about the relationship between early modern art, audience response and state power.
This collection provides a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the critical and theatrical history of the play. The substantial introduction surveys the history of critical interpretations of Richard II since the eighteenth century. The eleven newly written critical essays by leading and emerging scholars in the field then adopt an eclectic range of critical approaches that encourage scholars and students to pursue new and imaginative directions with the text.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Jeremy Lopez 1. Dead Men Talking: Elegiac Utterance, Monarchical Republicanism and Richard II, James Siemon 2. The History Play, Richard II, and Repertorial Commerce, Roslyn L. Knutson 3. Bodies that Matter in Richard II, Melissa Sanchez 4. cf. Marlowe, Paul Menzer 5. Staging Richard II for a New Millennium, Margaret Shewring 6. Gendered Neurosis on Stage and Screen: Fiona Shaw’s Richard II, Bridget Escolme 7. The Dramaturgy of Discomfort in Richard II, Brian Walsh 8. Insurgent Time: Richard II and the Periodization of Sovereignty, Mark Netzloff 9. "But, what euer you do, Buy": Richard II as Popular Commodity, Holger Schott Syme 10. Shakespeare’s Richard II and Elizabethan Politics, Rebecca Lemon 11. Going back to that well: Richard II’s "deposition scene," Genevieve Love
Jeremy Lopez is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is author of Shakespeare Handbooks: Richard II (2009), Theatrical Convention and Audience Response in Early Modern Drama (2004) and numerous articles on the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.