One or Two King Lears? – review at Berfrois (open access)

Edwin_Austin_Abbey_King_Lear_Act_I_Scene_I_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art.jpgI have a long review of Brian Vickers’s The One King Lear, at the Berfrois website. It was one of the biggest review challenges I’ve ever faced – a difficult, technical and contentious book…

Anyone who has seen more than one production of a Shakespeare play in a theatre, or watched a film version, will know that the words said by the actors can change. Speeches are cut in whole or part, some lines reassigned, scenes switched around or dropped entirely. Sometimes lines from other plays, or the director or their colleague’s own, are introduced. These decisions are made for a range of artistic or logistical reasons – to reduce the running time, to speed the action, to give a contemporary spin, to streamline a subplot, to merge minor roles, and so on. It is of course highly likely that such practices accompanied these plays from their first performances in Shakespeare’s lifetime.

It is also reasonably well known that several Shakespeare plays exist in more than one printed version. [continues here]

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