Cover image for The Life of King Henry the Eighth
Title:
The Life of King Henry the Eighth
Author:
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Uniform Title:
King Henry VIII
Edition:
New edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Books, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
xlviii, 126 pages ; 20 cm.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780140714753
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PR2817.A2 C74 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

The new Pelican Shakespeare series incorporates the more than thirty years of Shakespeare scholarship undertaken since the acclaimed original series, edited by Alfred Harbage, appeared between 1956 and 1967.

The general editors of the new series of forty volumes-the renowned Shakespeareans Stephen Orgel of Stanford University and A. R. Braunmuller of UCLA-have assembled a team of eminent scholars who have, along with the general editors themselves, prepared new introductions and notes to all of Shakespeare's plays and poems. Redesigned in an easy-to-read format that preserves the favorite features of the original, including an essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare, an introduction to the individual play, and a note on the text used.

The new Pelican Shakespeare will be an excellent resource for students, teachers, and theatre professionals well into the twenty first century.


Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This latest edition to the great "Pelican Shakespeare" line is as noteworthy as the previous volumes. It includes the full text of the play, an introduction, an essay on the theater, and more, all for the price of a Happy Meal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Shakespeare's Henry VIII In Henry VIII, the last of his plays about English history, Shakespeare presents monarchy in a state of crisis. Noblemen are embattled with the enormously powerful Lord Chancellor Cardinal Wolsey, as both parties level charges of treason against each other almost indiscriminately. Wolsey, without the king's knowledge, has taxed the people to the point of rebellion. Yet the politics of the play are so subtle that the true cause of this crisis is not clear. In the case of the duke of Buckingham, for example, witnesses brought before Henry by Cardinal Wolsey claim that the duke, deceived by the prophecies of an evil monk, is conspiring to usurp Henry's throne. Nonetheless, as Buckingham goes to his death for treason, he seems the innocent victim of suborned testimony. Perhaps, then, the root of the crisis is Henry's failure to recognize Wolsey's exploitation of the king's favor, which, we learn later, has enabled him to amass a huge fortune through extortion and to feed his own pride and spite. Or perhaps the crisis arises from the ambition of noblemen who would strip Henry and his heirs of the throne. The monarchy also faces a succession crisis, for Henry is without a male heir. Though Henry's queen, Katherine, has been pregnant many times, all but one of the pregnancies have resulted in miscarriages or in infants who died soon after birth. Worse, the single survivor is the girl Mary. After meeting the young and beautiful Anne Bullen, one of Katherine's ladies-in-waiting, Henry says that he is tormented by the suspicion that God has denied him a male heir because his marriage to Katherine -- the widow of his brother -- is invalid. The royal marriage begins to come apart. Again the precise nature of the crisis is put in question. Is Henry indeed experiencing a crisis of conscience about the sanctity of his marriage, or is he experiencing a crisis of desire provoked by the opportunity to take the young and beautiful Anne as a new wife and queen? Whatever the ethics of Shakespeare's Henry, Katherine's integrity glows so splendidly in the play's action and dialogue that her role has long been coveted by actors. She first takes the stage as the advocate for all the English people crushed by Wolsey's oppressive taxes, and then she is properly suspicious, as Henry is not, of the motives of the witnesses who send Buckingham to his death. Her fierce opposition to Wolsey is repeatedly justified by the play's depiction of the cardinal's vices. When she is summoned to the church court that is deliberating on the propriety of her marriage, her defense of her conduct as Henry's wife is resounding in its eloquence. She has been admired for centuries by readers and playgoers alike. After you have read the play, we invite you to turn to the essay printed after it, "Henry VIII: A Modern Perspective," by Barbara A. Mowat of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Copyright (c) 2007 by The Folger Shakespeare Library Excerpted from Henry VIII by William Shakespeare, Paul Werstine All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Editors' Preface Shakespeare's
Henry VIII Reading
Shakespeare's Language
Henry VIII Shakespeare's Life
Shakespeare's Theater
The Publication of Shakespeare's Plays
An Introduction to This Text
Henry VIII Text of the Play with Commentary Longer
Notes Textual
Notes Appendix on Authorship
Henry VIII:A Modern PerspectivebyBarbara A. Mowat
Further Reading Key to Famous Lines and Phrases

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