Richard II

The Art of Kingship

Richard II

Richard II (1377-1399) was deposed and probably murdered at the end of a dramatic kingship characterized by the struggle between royal authority and the power of the great magnates of the land. Richard faced down the leaders of the Peasant Revolt of 1381 when aged only 14 but found the magnates much harder to vanquish. 1399 saw the nadir of his royal power in the Merciless Parliament. This attempt to oust power from the king seems to have spurred Richard into recovering the royal prerogative but the king went so far beyond 'good governance' that his final two years in power became known as the 'tyranny'. The record of his reign was muddied by hostile chroniclers such as Walsingham and the anonymous monk of Evesham, and these distortions went on to be propagated by Shakespeare, leading Henry Hallam to write, in 1818, that 'the reign of Richard II is, in a constitutional light, the most interesting part of our earlier history; and it has been the most imperfectly written.' This collection of essays by leading historians aims to redress this balance and present a more accurate version of the king's 'governance'. Drawing on scholarship from both sides of the Atlantic, the re-evaluation of Richard's reign begins by deconstructing the distortions of chroniclers and the myth of the king's insanity. It goes on to examine the personal rule of the king, the role of his council and the court, and his relations with Londoners and the provinces, with the Church and the higher nobility. Other essays go beyond England's borders to look at the European perspective on trade and warfare, and on the marriage alliance between Richard and the house of Luxembourg. Finally, scholars of literature and the fine arts examine Richard's role as the chivalrous royal patron of culture. The combined result gives a rounded portrait of this fascinating and much maligned king.

Richard II

Richard II

The year is 1398, and the people of England are in a state of unrest. Richard II is not a popular king, as he puts his own interests before the interests of his people. Now he's gone a step too far; he has seized the lands and money of his dead uncle. Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, was meant to be the heir to this inheritance, and he is incensed that Richard has taken what is rightfully his. When Richard leaves for Ireland to fight a war, Henry takes advantage of his cousin's absence. He assembles an army and awaits Richard's return. A tale of rivalries and shifting power structures, this unabridged edition of the history play by English playwright William Shakespeare was written around 1595 and published in 1597.

Richard II

Richard II

Richard II is one of the most enigmatic of English kings. Shakespeare depicted him as a tragic figure, an irresponsible, cruel monarch who nevertheless rose in stature as the substance of power slipped from him. By later writers he has been variously portrayed as a half-crazed autocrat or a conventional ruler whose principal errors were the mismanagement of his nobility and disregard for the political conventions of his age. This book—the first full-length biography of Richard in more than fifty years—offers a radical reinterpretation of the king. Nigel Saul paints a picture of Richard as a highly assertive and determined ruler, one whose key aim was to exalt and dignify the crown. In Richard's view, the crown was threatened by the factiousness of the nobility and the assertiveness of the common people. The king met these challenges by exacting obedience, encouraging lofty new forms of address, and constructing an elaborate system of rule by bonds and oaths. Saul traces the sources of Richard's political ideas and finds that he was influenced by a deeply felt orthodox piety and by the ideas of the civil lawyers. He shows that, although Richard's kingship resembled that of other rulers of the period, unlike theirs, his reign ended in failure because of tactical errors and contradictions in his policies. For all that he promoted the image of a distant, all-powerful monarch, Richard II's rule was in practice characterized by faction and feud. The king was obsessed by the search for personal security: in his subjects, however, he bred only insecurity and fear. A revealing portrait of a complex and fascinating figure, the book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the politics and culture of the English middle ages.

William Shakespeare: 'Richard II'

William Shakespeare: 'Richard II'

An authoritative study of Richard II in its theatrical, cultural and political contexts. Professor Hattaway's study places Richard II within the contexts of Shakespeare's life and of the strenuous political debates that were taking place at the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. It offers a commentary upon the unfolding action of the play, stressing possible alternative readings of the text, and noting how directors have made particular decisions about these. It ends with two shorter linked chapters on aspects of the play's critical traditions and on selected stage productions.

Richard II

A True King's Fall

Richard II

A new biography re-examining the complex and fascinating king, whose very humanity saw him deposed from his divine role.

Richard II

Critical Essays

Richard II

Originally published in 1984. The four parts of this collection of articles, from 1601 to the 1970s, look at the historical and political dynamics of the play, the play in the theatre, the psychology of its characters, and its poetry and rhetoric. Bringing together the best that was written about Richard II, this volume represents the collective wisdom of Shakespeare scholars and provides the most insightful criticism in one place. An unpopular play for many years due to the perceived weak main character and the theme of deposition, the play later gained popularity and interest in its psychology and political investigation. The poetry in particular has garnered enthusiastic response and is mentioned in most of the pieces included here.

Richard II

Shakespeare: The Critical Tradition

Richard II

Before 1790, the criticism of Richard II is fragmentary and this volume takes up the major tradition of criticism, including Malone, Lamb, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Chambers, Boas, Brandes, Yeats, Schelling, Swinburne, A.C. Bradley, Saintsbury, and Masefield.

King Richard II

Third Series

King Richard II

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