King Lear
  • Publication Date: July 10, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551119670 / 1551119676
  • 240 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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King Lear

  • Publication Date: July 10, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551119670 / 1551119676
  • 240 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The Broadview British Bookshelf: A Digital Library. Get this edition and 330+ others for $45

The text of the play included here, prepared by Craig Walker for The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, has been acclaimed for its outstanding introductory material and annotations, and for its inclusion of parellel text versions of key scenes for which the texts of the Quarto and the Folio versions of the play are substantially different.

Also included in this edition are excerpts from a variety of literary source materials (including Geoffrey on Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, the anonymous True Chronicle Historie of King Leir, and Samuel Harsnett’s A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures); material on the historical Annesley case that raised many of the same issues as does Shakespeare’s play; and the happy ending from Nahum Tate’s version of the play, which held the stage for 150 years after its first performance in 1681.


“The Broadview chooses the Folio as the basic text, but, significantly, adds notes throughout that point out the differences appearing in the Quarto version. In addition, in the case of the three scenes in which differences are most pronounced, the anthology prints both Folio and Quarto versions side by side. This method opens up illuminating and exciting possibilities in the classroom.... I regard the unhesitating confrontation with the difficulties of King Lear that is shown by the Broadview editors as a microcosmic illustration of the toughness, determination, and conscientiousness of the editors throughout this entire British literature anthology.” — Robert H. Ray, Baylor University (author of Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s King Lear)

“... an exciting achievement ... It sets a new standard by which all other anthologies of British Literature will now have to be measured.” — Graham Hammill, SUNY—Buffalo

The Broadview Anthology of British Literature is no mere pretender to the throne long held by Norton; it is the new standard.” — Richard Nordquist, Armstrong Atlantic State University


  • William Shakespeare 1564–1616
    King Lear

King Lear

In Context

  • The Shakespearean Theater
    • The Swan Theatre
      Titus Andronicus in Performance
      The Plot of an Elizabethan Play
  • Early Editions of King Lear
    Source Material
    • from Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain (12th century)
      Cap o’ Rushes
      from Anonymous, The True Chronicle History of King Leir and his Three Daughters (1605)
      from Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577, 1587)
      from Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590)
      The Annesley Case
      from Samuel Harsnett, A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1603)
  • King Lear on Stage in the Seventeenth Century
    • from Richard Johnson, “The Ballad of King Lear and his Three Daughters” (1620)
      from Nahum Tate, The History of King Lear (1681)

Contributing Editor Craig Walker is Associate Professor of Drama at Queen’s University and is the author of The Buried Astrolabe: Canadian Dramatic Imagination and Western Tradition (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001).

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