FOLGER Shakespeare Library The world's leading center for Shakespeare studies Each edition includes: Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play Scene-by-scene plot summaries A key to famous lines and phrases An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books Essay by Susan Snyder The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to theworld's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet forShakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open tothe public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performancesand programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu
One of the most popular of Shakespeare's plays, King Lear is also one of the most thought-provoking. The play turns on the practical ramifications of the words of Christ that we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. When confronted with the demand that she should render unto Caesar that which is God's, Cordelia chooses to "love and be silent". As the play unfolds each of the principal characters learns wisdom through suffering. This edition includes new critical essays by some of the leading lights in contemporary literary scholarship.
King Lear, widely considered Shakespeare's most deeply moving, passionately expressed, and intellectually ambitious play, has almost always been edited from the revised version printed in the First Folio of 1623, with additions from the quarto of 1608. Acting on recent discoveries, this volumepresents the first full, scholarly edition to be based firmly on the quarto, now recognized as the base text from which all others derive. A thorough, attractively written introduction suggests how the work grew slowly in Shakespeare's imagination, fed by years of reading, thinking, and experienceas a practical dramatist. Analysis of the great range of literary and other sources from which he shaped the tragedy, and of its critical and theatrical history, indicates that the play felt as shocking and original to early audiences as it does now. Its challenges have often been evaded, notably inNahum Tate's notorious adaptation. During the twentieth century, however, deeper understanding of the conventions of Shakespeare's theatre restored confidence in the theatrical viability of his original text, while the play has also generated a remarkable range of offshoots in film, television, thevisual arts, music, and literature.The commentary to this edition offers detailed help in understanding the language and dramaturgy in relation to the theatres in which King Lear was first performed. Additional sections reprint the early ballad, ignored by all modern editors, which was among its earliest derivatives, and provideadditional guides to understanding and appreciating one of the greatest masterworks of Western civilization.