Critical Edition of Two Modern Plays on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff

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Focuses on a literary figure – Shakespeare’s Falstaff – who seems to have taken on a life independent of the plays in which he first appeared: Henry IV, Part One (ca. 1596), Henry IV, Part Two (ca. 1599), and The Merry Wives of Windsor (ca. 1597-1601). Since that time, Falstaff has appeared in numerous other plays, novels, poems, paintings, musical pieces, and films. The high points in Falstaff’s “career,” included in this collection, are by two major artistic figures from the 20th century: Fernand Crommelynck (1886-1970), whose The Knight of the Moon, or Sir John Falstaff is adapted from the two parts of Henry IV, with some additions from The Merry Wives of Windsor; and Orson Welles (1915-1985), whose play Chimes at Midnight (1960) prepared the way for his 1966 film by the same title and was itself preceded by another stage version by Welles, Five Kings (1938). Each of the two Falstaff plays in this volume is preceded by a preface, and the anthology as a whole is framed by an historical introduction and a comprehensive critical, as well as creative, bibliography.


“Aside from Hamlet, Falstaff may be the only character of Shakespeare’s who deserves a book – or books – of his own. And Falstaff has got a good one in Dr. Cardullo’s work. This is the first collection of its kind, and one that is implicitly interdisciplinary as well … the value of this volume is self-evident, and the two plays included in Dr. Cardullo’s anthology themselves confirm Falstaff’s enduring life.” – (from the Preface) Professor J.L. Simmons, Tulane University

“As usual, Dr. Cardullo has done a thorough job – this time of gathering all we really need to know about Falstaff in one collection … What more can I say? This work has been waiting for years to be published, and it took someone with Dr. Cardullo’s canniness, persistence, and diligence to get the job done.” – Professor Roger Copeland, Oberlin College

“...There is simply nothing ‘out there’ like this work, and given the inclusion of Orson Welle’s adaptation, the anthology will likely appeal as much to film scholars as to theater historians.” – Professor Richard Hornby, University of California, Riverside

Table of Contents

Preface by Professor J.L. Simmons
1. Critical Introduction: Falstaff’s Dramatic Character
2. The Falstaffian Universe of Fernand Crommelynck
3. The Knight of the Moon, of Sir John Falstaff, by Fernand Crommelynck (1954)
4. When Titans Meet: Orson Welles and Falstaff
5. Chimes at Midnight, by Orson Welles (1960)
6. Creative Bibliography
7. Critical Bibliography
Afterword by Professor Stephen M. Buhler

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