Monday, July 13, 2015

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


Rating: 4 Stars


If you are half as interested in Shakespeare and the Plantagenet dynasty as I am, you will enjoy this one. It is both a history text and an analysis of the Bard's greatest historical plays. The author does a fine job comparing the two, providing first the historical events, then how Shakespeare presented those events. The two did not always match up, but the author also provides sufficient explanations for why Shakespeare wrote this scene this way, or changed the chronology, etc. And it must be remembered too, as the author points out, "...but then (Shakespeare) was not a historian; he was a dramatist. The play was the thing; and if he could amuse, inspire and perhaps very modestly educate his audiences, that was enough."

My only real issue with the book has to do with punctuation: semi-colons are EVERYWHERE.

Otherwise, enjoy!


I also found this quote to be well-said and a concise way to wrap up the historical aspects of the text, and forgot to include it in my review:

"(Bosworth) marked the end not only of the Plantagenets and the Wars of the Roses, but also of the Middle Ages. The England of Henry Tudor and his successors would be a very different - and happier - place." Though, I might add, this would perhaps be truefor some; though not for any of his son's wives (except Anne of Cleves), or the many victims of the religious struggle between Catholics and Protestants.

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