Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The comedy Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, written in 1598 or 1599, is generally considered one of his best as it “combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honour, shame, and court politics” (see here). In the preface to the play (in the prospectus to this edition), German philosopher Hermann Ulrici (1806-1884) further describes the tenants underlying the surface level humor in the play: …as in most … Continue reading Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

The Merchant of Venice was written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1596 and 1598. It was first printed in quarto in 1600.  Though it is classified as a comedy in the First Folio, it is quite dramatic. The play is most famous for the character of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender who loans money to Antonio on the condition that should he fail to re-pay, Shylock will extract from him a pound of flesh. Both the … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

King John, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)

William Shakespeare wrote King John in the 1590’s, probably after Richard II but before Henry IV, Part I. It was first published as part of the First Folio in 1623. Along with Richard II, King John is one of only two plays by Shakespeare written entirely in verse. While it was very popular in the Victorian era, it is now one of Shakespeare’s least familiar and least performed works. None-the-less, the realization that … Continue reading King John, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)

Richard the Second, William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)

The historical play Richard the Second, by William Shakespeare, was written sometime around 1595. It is based on Raphael Holinshed‘s Chronicles. The play focuses on the the last two years of the life of King Richard II of England, 1398-1400, especially the conflict between Richard and Henry Bolingbroke (later King Henry IV) over the kingship.  A synopsis is given by Sir Paul Harvey, from The Oxford Companion to English Literature: It deals with the arbitrary exile of Henry Bolingbroke … Continue reading Richard the Second, William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1940)

Love’s Labour’s Lost, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)

William Shakespeare‘s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of his early works that was written sometime around the mid-1590’s, is a somewhat difficult play to fully appreciate. It’s style, while sophisticated and witty, like its frequent allusions, rely on a significant understanding of the forms and court interplays of the time. This results in it being a real challenge to the modern reader.  Wikipedia’s article on the play states: Love’s Labour’s … Continue reading Love’s Labour’s Lost, by William Shakespeare, Limited Editions Club (1939)