Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

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9780743200318: Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, esteemed historian John Julius Norwich chronicles the turbulent events of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England that inspired Shakespeare's history plays. It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. This was the raw material of Shakespeare's dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the real Falstaff? How accurate a historian was the playwright? Shakespeare's Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard's method of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages.

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Review:

If Shakespeare's complicated portrayal of the teeming womb of royal kings (Richard II) of England in his history plays has always confused you, then John Julius Norwich's Shakespeare's Kings is one solution to your problems. Watching Henry IV as a young boy, Norwich asked, where did history stop and drama begin? It is this question that Shakespeare's Kings seeks to answer, as it chronicles the historical events of the reigns of the monarchs of England dramatized in Shakespeare's plays. Beginning with Edward III, Norwich details the turbulent reign of Richard II, the rise of Henry IV, and the triumphs of Henry V, the disastrous reign of Henry VI, the Wars of the Roses, the evil of Richard III, and the painful birth of the Tudor monarchy.

Norwich sheds interesting light on what Shakespeare did with his sources (particularly Holinshed), as he provides chapters that detail the history of a particular monarch, which is then tested against Shakespeare's play of that particular king. This throws up some interesting points, such as the fact that the great nationalist John of Gaunt in Richard II was actually a deeply unpopular, patrician figure. The book also contains some wonderful illustrations and excellent tables of family trees, maps and an appendix that offers the entirety of Edward III, only recently (and still controversially) accepted into the canon by Shakespeare scholars.

However, the general reader should also treat Norwich's claim to historical objectivity with some caution. Shakespeare's Kings is almost completely ignorant of recent critical and historical studies of Shakespeare and historical studies of the monarchs under consideration. Norwich argues that Shakespeare would never have claimed historical accuracy--and to establish just how close he came has been one of the principal purposes of this book--because he was a dramatist, not a historian. But this obscures the extent to which history and literature are invariably entwined and nowhere more so than in Shakespeare. But there's the rub. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

John Julius Norwich is the author of A History of Venice and the renowned Byzantium trilogy. He is chairman of the World Monuments Fund in Britain and lives in London.

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Norwich, John Julius
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Norwich, John Julius
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Descripción SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, esteemed historian John Julius Norwich chronicles the turbulent events of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England that inspired Shakespeare s history plays. It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. This was the raw material of Shakespeare s dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the real Falstaff? How accurate a historian was the playwright? Shakespeare s Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard s method of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780743200318

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John Julius Norwich
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Descripción SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, esteemed historian John Julius Norwich chronicles the turbulent events of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England that inspired Shakespeare s history plays. It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. This was the raw material of Shakespeare s dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the real Falstaff? How accurate a historian was the playwright? Shakespeare s Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard s method of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780743200318

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Descripción Simon and Schuster, 2001. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IQ-9780743200318

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Descripción Scribner Book Company 3/13/2001, 2001. Paperback or Softback. Estado de conservación: New. Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería BBS-9780743200318

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Descripción Scribner, 2001. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0743200314

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