King Lear in Our Time

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Psychology Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 126 pages

This edition first published in 1966. Previous edition published 1965 by the University of California Press.

Perhaps more than any other play of Shakespeare's King Lear has been subjected to almost totally contradictory interpretations. In the first historical section of the book the author describes the varying concepts of the play and the distortions of text and even plot that have been widely used. Garrick's playing of Lear as a pathetic and down-trodden old man. Laughton's and Olivier's versions and Herbert Blaus's theory of the 'subtext' are described and analysed. The central section of the book examines the medieval, folk and romance sources of the play. The final chapter illustrates how the action of the play and its pervading violence and evil are not explained in terms of human motive and rely for their meaning more on their effects than their antecedents. An important theme is the play's examination of society and the ties of service and family love.

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Contents

ONE I
1
TWO
43
THREE
81

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About the author (2005)

Maynard Mack was born in Hillsdale, Michigan on October 27, 1909. He received a bachelor's degree in 1932 and a doctorate in 1936 from Yale University. He taught at Yale University for 45 years before his retirement in 1978 and was a world-renowned expert on Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, and twentieth century literary criticism. He wrote numerous books including King Lear in Our Time, The Garden and the City, Collected in Himself, The Last and Greatest Art, Alexander Pope: A Life, Prose and Cons: Monologues on Several Occasions, and Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. He also served as an editor of The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, which has become the standard edition of the poet's work, and he edited several collections of contemporary critical essays. He died on March 17, 2001 at the age of 90.