Perspective in Shakespeare's English Histories

Title Details

Pages: 232

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/01/2011

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3846-0

List Price: $29.95

Perspective in Shakespeare's English Histories

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  • Description
  • Reviews
Larry S. Champion examines Shakespeare’s English history plays and describes the structural devices through which Shakespeare controls the audience’s angle of vision and its response to the pattern of historical events. Champion observes the experimentation between stage worlds and the significance of a dramatic technique unique to the history play—one that combines the detachment of a documentary necessary for a broad intellectual view of history and the simultaneous engagement between character and spectator. Champion sees a conscious bifurcation occurring in Shakespeare’s dramaturgy after Richard II. In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare continues to focus on the psychological analysis and internalized protagonist which lead to his major tragic achievements. In King John and Henry IV, the playwright develops a middle ground between the polarities of Henry VI, in which the flat, onedimensional characters essentially serve the purposes of the narrative, and the tragedies, in which the spectator’s consuming interest is in the developing central figure whose critical moments they share. Champion sees Henry V as the culmination of Shakespeare’s efforts in the English history play.

Champion’s analyses are interesting, often original, and (of course) sometimes debatable. He treats the plays in order of composition, not so much to show a steady rise in quality as to demonstrate various manipulations of dramatic components to achieve ‘a breadth of vision.’ . . . The book will suit collections for advanced undergraduates and research.

Literary Journal

About the Author/Editor

LARRY S. CHAMPION is a professor emeritus and former head of the English Department at North Carolina State University. He is the author or editor of numerous books including Quick Springs of Sense and Perspective in Shakespeare's English Histories (both Georgia).