This Columbia Critical Guide steers a clear path through the huge body of critical material on Richard II that has accrued over the past three centuries, elucidating the play's reception by audiences, critics, and scholars since its first production. Beginning with a discussion of early commentaries, the book presents and addresses the most significant critical arguments to give the reader a clear understanding of the ways in which each generation has sought to invest Richard II with new meaning. The final section considers the radical new reading of Shakespeare's work provided by contemporary critics.
Assembles and discusses some of the criticism the play has inspired over the past four centuries. To the main themes of history, theater, politics, language, and criticism itself is added character, which is currently an unfashionable approach, but Richard's character was a focus of considerable debate in earlier studies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)