Upon opening their expensive new book in 1623, buyers of the folio collection of William Shakespeare’s plays were promised The Life of Henry the Fift. What they went on to read, however, was not a full “life” in the modern biographical sense. The battle of Agincourt is the play’s main event; every scene leads up to or follows directly from the climax of one of England’s most one-sided and famous victories. The play’s ambiguous portrayal of war has spurred critical debate for centuries, and its performances have reflected shifting political and cultural views.
James D. Mardock’s Introduction provides an extensive discussion of Henry V’s critical and stage histories and explores the play’s complex relationship with other history plays (and with history itself). The appendices provide materials on the play’s historical background and sources, as well as documents on contemporary warfare. Additional materials, including an annotated text of the 1600 quarto (Q1) edition, are available on the Internet Shakespeare Editions website.
A collaboration between Broadview Press and the Internet Shakespeare Editions project at the University of Victoria, the editions developed for this series have been comprehensively annotated and draw on the authoritative texts newly edited for the ISE. This innovative series allows readers to access extensive and reliable online resources linked to the print edition.
“This is an outstanding edition. Its clear, straightforward, and rich annotations make it eminently suitable for the classroom, as do the judiciously compiled appendices of historical documents (as carefully annotated as the play itself). However, it is James D. Mardock’s introduction that is the real gem here: although accessible enough for an undergraduate reader, it stands as a gracefully argued, learned, and remarkably acute major piece of criticism in its own right, a genuine contribution to the scholarly debates about Henry V.” — Holger Syme, University of Toronto
“Once again the Broadview/Internet Shakespeare editors provide a wonderfully lucid and contextually rich scholarly text. The edition provides well-chosen primary sources to illustrate ideologies of warfare, English/French military practices, Salic law, and many of the interesting material references in the play. With these resources, the Broadview Henry V intelligently engages readers in the world of Shakespeare’s drama. An extensive and detailed introduction is particularly thorough on the play’s performance history (stage and screen) from its earliest productions to the early 21st century. The play-text itself is admirably set, with helpful glosses and restrained but useful footnotes. The whole edition is nicely balanced between a clean, clear text and a rich border of carefully curated historical information.” — Elizabeth Hodgson, University of British Columbia