The Tragedy of Richard II Part One – A Newly Authenticated Play by Shakespeare
This is a new, three-volume edition of an anonymous Elizabethan history play that has intrigued Shakespeare scholars for more than a century. Using modern computer softwares to degrain and magnify the text, Michael Egan resolves many of the transcription difficulties presented by the handwritten MS to produce the most authoritative edition yet available. A set of Text and Variorum Notes meticulously records the variant readings of previous editors and provides relevant citations from contemporary sources and other analytic comments to clarify the play's meanings, concerns and thematic preoccupations. Among other features of this edition are an original conclusion in the Elizabethan manner (some lines of the MS's final scene are missing), a book-length Introduction proving that Shakespeare wrote the play, and a l00-page supplement detailing over 1,600 echoes and parallels with the Collected Works. Other sections examine 1 Richard II 's textual history from 1870–present, outline its historical background and include selections from the writings of those critics who have discussed the work in detail. This work is a must for every Shakespearean collection.
“Some years ago I proposed that the rediscovery of Shakespeare's so called 'Lost Years' 1582-92 might yield perhaps twenty new and unacknowledged dramas, even at the author's leisurely composition rate of
two per annum. Dr. Michael Egan's edition and analysis of the anonymous Elizabethan manuscript Woodstock (restoring its early title, Richard II, Part One) is a positive step in that direction. Together with the recent recovery of Edward III, and possibly other apocryphal works, Dr. Egan's text and discussion bid fair to transform the field of Shakespeare studies. We have an overlooked Shakespeare drama to consider, complementary to his history plays and of sufficient quality to justify critical attention. Dr Egan demonstrates that Shakespeare's story is presented with energetic subtlety, drawing on (or perhaps developing for the first time) devices and techniques he later brought to fruition in the second tetralogy and his great tragedies. Among them are typical imageries, structural doublings and the play-within-the
play. We also find early versions of some famous figures, including Falstaff, Dogberry, Osric and others. That Shakespeare's was the originating hand is confirmed by an astonishing set of parallel lines and phrases, scrupulously itemised, which permit little doubt of their mutual authorship. Among the recognisably Shakespearean themes are contrasts between court and village life, the subtle admixture of comedy and tragedy, and the rise of the new-fashioned legal forms so excoriated by John of Gaunt on his death-bed, 'Thy state of law is bond-slave to the law,' (Richard II, I II.i.114). But as Everitt remarks, Shakespeare's early histories are couched anachronistically in terms of Tudor property law, a topic with which he was especially concerned. Among Egan's most persuasive insights is the degree to which Richard II, Part One reflects this interest. Little justice can be done in so brief a preface to so thorough a discussion. I can say only that I am impressed with the author's industry, critical intelligence and capacity to master such an array of readings, information and ideas.” – (from the Foreword) Eric Sams, Author of The Real Shakespeare
Table of Contents
Text and Variorum Notes
ISBN10: 0-7734-6080-2 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-6080-5 Pages: 576 Year: 2006