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The Tragedy of King Richard III: The Oxford Shakespeare (Anglais) Broché – 17 avril 2008


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

This is far and away the finest critical edition of the play available (Eric Rasmussen, Shakespeare Survey)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Richard III is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays on the stage and has been adapted successfully for film. This new and innovative edition recognizes the play's pre-eminence as a performance work: a perspective that informs every aspect of the editing. Challenging traditional practice, the text is based on the 1597 Quarto which, it is argued, brings us closest to the play as it would have been staged in Shakespeare's theatre. The introduction, which is illustrated, explores the long performance history from Shakespeare's time to the present. Its critical engagement with the play responds to recent historicist and gender-based approaches. The commentary gives detailed explication of matters of language, staging, text, and historical and cultural contexts, providing coverage that is both carefully balanced and alert to nuance of meaning. Documentation of the extensive textual variants is organized for maximum clarity: the readings of the Folio and the Quarto are presented in separate banks, and more specialist information is given at the back of the book. Appendices also include selected passages from the main source and a special index of actors and other theatrical personnel. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.



Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 424 pages
  • Editeur : Oxford Paperbacks (17 avril 2008)
  • Collection : Oxford World's Classics
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0199535884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535880
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,6 x 2,3 x 12,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 2.444 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Richard III is conspicuously a performance piece, and in many ways it is about the nature of performance. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Par L. Bonin le 11 janvier 2010
Format: Broché
Comme toujours, les éditions Oxford sont sublimes, avec une introduction et des notes très denses et très pertinentes. superbe.
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Portrait of a Tyrant 1 mai 2015
Par J C E Hitchcock - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The Oxford Shakespeare, as its name might suggest, seems to have been prepared with the student or scholar in mind. (The RSC Shakespeare, again as its name might suggest, seems to be aimed more at the actor or theatrical director, and the Penguin Shakespeare at the general reader). This Oxford edition of “Richard III” features a very lengthy introduction by John Jowett, almost the length of a short novel in itself, and very copious explanatory and textual notes.

“Richard III” opens where “Henry VI Part 3” left off; the dead body of the murdered Henry is brought onto the stage at the beginning of the play. It is often regarded as forming a tetralogy with the three “Henry VI” plays, but whereas those plays are among Shakespeare’s least known and least performed works, “Richard III” has long been a favourite on the stage. The title role, the longest in Shakespeare apart from Hamlet, is regarded as one of the greatest challenges for a Shakespearean actor. Lines from the play, notably the opening “Now is the winter of our discontent” and “My kingdom for a horse!” have passed into proverbial use.

The play which has most in common with “Richard III“ is “Macbeth”. Both plays are based, albeit loosely, on British history, and both deal with the rise and fall of a usurping tyrant who dies in battle at the end of the play. “Macbeth”, however, is normally classified as a tragedy and “Richard III” as a history play, even though it was originally published under the title “The Most Tragicall History of King Richard III”. The reason, I think, is the difference between the ways in which the two protagonists are presented. Macbeth is a prime example of a tragic hero, a great man brought down by a flaw in his character, in his case ambition reinforced by the promptings of his fiendish wife and the three witches. He is initially presented as a loyal subject of King Duncan and a successful soldier, and even after he has murdered the king and usurped the crown he is still troubled by his conscience, from which he can only escape by a retreat into moral nihilism.

Richard, by contrast, is no tragic hero. He needs no outside promptings to reinforce his monstrous ambition; his wife, Lady Anne, is no Lady Macbeth but a victim of Richard’s cruelty, and there is no supernatural element in the play other than the ghosts of his victims who appear to reproach him for his crimes. Moral nihilism is not something into which he escapes; it is an essential part of his character. He is a ruthless, Machiavellian schemer, motivated only by self-interest; conscience is something wholly alien to him. In his dealings with the other characters in the play he is a hypocrite, hiding his true nature beneath a façade of goodness, but with the audience he is gleefully honest about his villainy.

By any objective standards, Richard was a minor character in English history. His claim to the throne was a weak one, and he was overthrown after only two years as king. (Since the Norman Conquest, only his unfortunate nephew and predecessor Edward V, Edward VIII and the disputed Jane Grey have had shorter reigns). Yet the effect of Shakespeare’s play has been to confer a posthumous fame on Richard which he would not otherwise have enjoyed, something evidenced by the enormous interest in his recent reburial in Leicester Cathedral. Some have criticised Shakespeare for blackening Richard’s character, and there is a certain amount of truth in the accusation as the play attributes crimes to Richard of which he was not historically guilty. (Prince Edward, the son of Henry VI, died in battle, and George Duke of Clarence was executed for treason against Edward IV, but in the play both are murdered by Richard or on his orders).

The “Tudor propaganda” aspect of the play can, however, be over-emphasised. Certainly, it would have been imprudent for Shakespeare to have depicted Richmond, the future Henry VII and grandfather of his patron Elizabeth I, in anything other than a good light, or to have cast any doubt on the legitimacy of the Tudor dynasty. On the other hand, there is no evidence to suggest that the play was written on the instructions of Elizabeth or her government. Shakespeare was writing more than a hundred years after the events he describes, long after any possibility of a Yorkist revival had vanished. Richard had died without legitimate heirs, and although some of Clarence’s direct descendants still survived nobody regarded them as serious candidates for the Crown. The only serious challenge to Elizabeth’s rule had come from partisans of Mary Queen of Scots who was, like her, a descendant of Henry VII.

When Shakespeare departs from historical accuracy he generally does so for the sake of dramatic licence, not because he wanted to slander a good man. (The historical Richard was not a good man, and nobody in Shakespeare’s day believed him to have been one). Another example comes in his treatment of Henry VI’s widow, Queen Margaret. She is an important character in the play, yet by rights she should not appear in it at all; during the earlier events portrayed she was in exile in France, and by the time Richard came to the throne she was actually dead. Here, however, she appears as a sort of personification of vengeance, exulting at the downfall of those who have wronged her.

The play is not primarily an examination of the rights and wrongs of the Wars of the Roses; it has a much deeper political significance than that, which is another reason to explain its continuing popularity. Richmond is not merely Elizabeth’s grandfather in the literal sense; Elizabethans would also have seen him as her spiritual ancestor, bringing peace and reconciliation after a period of bitter division in the same way as Elizabeth attempted to reconcile the conflicting factions after the Reformation. For similar reasons the play was popular after the Restoration as Royalists sought to draw parallels between Henry VII and his distant descendant Charles II, another monarch who took power after the nation had been divided by civil war.

For modern audiences, of course, much of the interest of the play lies in the parallels between Shakespeare’s portrait of tyranny and the dictatorships of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (The same is also true of “Macbeth”). This explains why many modern productions- notably Richard Loncraine’s film starring Ian McKellen- have sought to portray Richard as a proto-fascist, even a proto-Hitler. Richard’s dictatorship may have different ideological underpinnings to the modern fascist or communist state, but in other respects, especially the all-pervading atmosphere of fear and suspicion, it is essentially the same. Richard’s ruthless treatment of his one-time friend Buckingham, who helped him to seize power, has its parallels in Hitler’s “Night of the Long Knives” and Stalin’s purges in which they turned on their former allies. As in “Henry VI Part 2”, Shakespeare shows that he understood the underlying psychology of fascism and communism long before either ideology actually existed.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A chaotic play, presided over by the monstrous title-character and containing three memorable scenes 4 août 2015
Par R. M. Peterson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
To the theater-going public RICHARD III seems to be one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. That no doubt is due to the fact that Richard III is one of Shakespeare's greatest roles. The Machiavellian crookback king dominates the play, and playing him is one of the most prized roles for serious thespians. (Among those who have tackled it are Kenneth Branagh, David Garrick, Ian McKellen, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Sher, and Kevin Spacey.) But for me, reading the play on paper was not a thoroughgoing pleasure. RICHARD III is far too chaotic.

I have been reading Shakespeare's plays in approximate order of their composition. RICHARD III traditionally comes after the three "Henry VI" plays, which cover English history from about 1422 to 1471, the period of the Wars of the Roses. A lot happens in the Henry VI plays, and as I am not very knowledgeable about medieval English history, keeping up with all the players, intrigues, and mayhem was challenging. But somehow I managed to keep my head above water. RICHARD III would have totally swamped me had I not come across a book just before reading it (John Julius Norwich's "Shakespeare's Kings") that provided in accessible fashion the "actual" history of Shakespeare's English histories. Reading Norwich's account of the years 1471 to 1485 -- the years in which Richard Gloucester first schemes against his brother Edward IV and then assumes the throne as Richard III, shunting aside Edward's sons and his own nephews -- gave me enough background to follow the twists and turns of Shakespeare's play. But since Shakespeare gallops through much of that history, omits some important events and fabricates others, and often rearranges or compresses chronology, reading RICHARD III was still a head-spinning experience.

Thus, my advice to newcomers to RICHARD III is to first acquaint yourself with the "true" history of 1471 to 1485, either through a book such as Norwich's or Peter Saccio's "Shakespeare's English Kings" or via an appropriate Introduction to the play. (Judging from Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, John Jowett's Introduction to this Oxford World's Classics edition does not appear to provide such an historical background.)

Through all the chaos of the play, Richard III as a character stands out. He is inordinately compelling and repulsive. He can be charming, but there is a ruthless egomaniac beneath that thin veneer. And he is violent -- although in RICHARD III (unlike the Henry VI plays) relatively little violence occurs on stage. Indeed, the only on-stage death is the slaying of Richard III himself at the end of the play, at the Battle of Bosworth. (While his brother Clarence is stabbed on stage he presumably does not die until he has been dragged offstage and stuffed and drowned in a butt of malmsey -- an assassination, by the way, that Richard ordered.)

In addition to Richard himself, the other things I am likely to remember about RICHARD III -- and what I am most likely to return to (I can't imagine ever wanting to re-read the play in its entirety) -- are three scenes.

The first is Act I, Scene 2, which opens with Lady Anne accompanying the coffin of Henry VI to its burial. Henry VI had been murdered by Richard Gloucester, as had his son, Prince Edward, who had been Anne's husband. Richard halts the funeral procession and begins to woo Lady Anne. Needless to say, she at first is outraged, calling him a "lump of foul deformity" and "diffused infection of a man". She tells Richard that he is "unfit for any place but hell", to which he counters that, no, there is one place where he is better suited; Anne proposes "Some dungeon", Richard responds "Your bedchamber". It's a marvelous scene. At the end of it, Anne has capitulated to Richard's charms, and Richard gloats with an emphatic "Ha!"

Then there is Act IV, Scene 4, where Richard (now King) verbally jousts with another woman, this time Queen Elizabeth, the widow of King Edward IV and mother of his heirs, two sons and a daughter, who would have been more legitimate successors to the crown than Richard. Richard therefore had ordered that her sons, whom he had imprisoned in the Tower of London, be killed, and now, to consolidate his hold on the throne, he proposes to Queen Elizabeth that she give him her daughter in marriage (Anne having just died, conveniently, probably by poison). In searing and witty fashion, Elizabeth mocks and rebuffs him. Richard has begun to lose his touch.

The third memorable scene is on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth (Act V, Scene 5). As Richard tries to sleep, a pageant of the ghosts of the people he killed, or had killed, parades past him -- Prince Edward, King Henry VI, Clarence, the two young princes from the Tower, Lady Anne, three relatives of Queen Elizabeth (Lord Rivers, Lord Gray, and Sir Vaughan), and two of his own former allies on whom he had turned (Lord Hastings and the Duke of Buckingham). Each enjoins Richard to remember him or her during the morrow's battle:

"Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow", or

"Tomorrow in the battle think on me,
And fall thy edgeless sword. Despair and die.", or

"O in the battle think on Buckingham,
And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death;
Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath."

Powerful stuff.
3 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"I am determinèd to prove a villain" 20 octobre 2013
Par P. Webster - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This review will focus mainly on the play itself, but firstly I will make a brief comment about this particular edition. These Oxford editions of the Shakespeare plays for me have one bad point and one good point. On the negative side, I consider the introductions to be over-academic for the general reader. On the positive side, the explanatory notes are generally good and are placed at the foot of each page for easy reference. The five stars I have given are for Shakespeare: I would give Oxford four.

Richard III is a long play, and perhaps a little drawn out in places. Nevertheless it is one of my favourite Shakespeares. There are some brilliant scenes, such as the opening monologue; the scene where Richard woos Anne; the Council Meeting where Richard turns on Hastings; and the scene where Clarence describes his dream and is then murdered.

The scene with Clarence's dream also contains one of my favourite pieces of Shakespeare's poetry, the passage which starts: "O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown..."

There has been a lot of analysis of the character of Richard. He clearly represents a typical feudal gangster-lord. Some also see him as personifying the ruthlessly individualistic rising bourgeoisie of Shakespeare's time. Others have pointed to the similarities between Richard and the character of "Vice" in the medieval morality plays.

The play is also often said to bring out the conflict between fate and determinism on the one hand, and free will and choice on the other. For example, when Richard says, "I am determinèd to prove a villain", he seems to be asserting his individual will. But "determined" can also mean "fated".

But leaving the analysis aside, this is an enjoyable play. It is a history/tragedy, but it is done with humour. Richard is amusing as well as evil. We are almost made to admire him. (The late medieval "Vice" character was also apparently often portrayed with humour.) I agree with what one Shakespeare expert (J.D. Wilson) once wrote: "Only by realising that Shakespeare expects us to at once enjoy and detest the monstrous Richard can we fully appreciate the play..."

Incidentally, this is why I can't go along with the idea of portraying Richard as a 1930s-style fascist (as has been done in recent years). Someone murdering their way to the top can be done with humour. Nazi genocide can NOT.

Richard is ruthless and amusing while he is on the rise. Once in power he is overcome by fear, mistrust and guilt. But he bounces back to a brave end.

I'll conclude with a point about the history that the play is based on. The complaints by fans of the real Richard III, that Shakespeare paints an unfair picture of Richard, don't hold water as far as I'm concerned. Firstly, we're talking about a play here, not history. Secondly, even if there is an element of Tudor propaganda in the play, the real Richard probably did kill the princes in the Tower. And thirdly, in any case, there was no such thing as a "good" medieval monarch!

Phil Webster.
(England)
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of my favorite Shakespearean plays! 13 janvier 2015
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Love it!
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