Shakespeare Adaptations from the Early Eighteenth Century
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Shakespeare Adaptations from the Early Eighteenth Century

Five Plays
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Kristine Johanson
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This book provides, for the first time, a scholarly edition of five adaptations of Shakespeare from the early eighteenth century. Providing a critical introduction and extensive explanatory notes, Shakespeare Adaptations from the Early Eighteenth Century firmly situates the texts of Coriolanus, Richard II, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI, and Henry V in the literary, cultural, and political contexts of the period.
This book presents a scholarly edition of five of the first adaptations of Shakespeare from the eighteenth century, the period when Shakespeare became “Shakespeare.” Written by men influential in early Augustan cultural spheres, these adaptations demonstrate how contemporary literary principles and contemporary politics were applied to Shakespeare’s texts. In these adaptations of Henry V, Richard II, Coriolanus, 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI, we see the various ways that eighteenth-century authors “righted” Shakespeare’s “wrongs”: through the addition and alteration of female characters and romantic sub-plots, the introduction of new scenes, the use of the unities of time and place, and the inclusion of overt moral and political arguments.
The critical introduction contextualizes the five adaptations through its discussion of early eighteenth-century theatre and politics. First providing an overview of the state of the theatre at the beginning of the Augustan age, the introduction then examines the multiple political conspiracies that rocked the first years of George I’s reign and that provide the backdrop to these adaptations. Furthermore, the introduction draws particular attention to the importance of the actress in the early eighteenth century, highlighting how Shakespeare’s adaptors drew on actresses’ cultural capital to alter Shakespeare’s texts. Finally, the edition provides a critical introduction to each of the plays. Extensive explanatory notes are provided, which situate further these plays in their contemporary context. In its introduction and explanatory notes, S
hakespeare Adaptations supplies an important critical apparatus to five plays which are often noted in the annals of Shakespearean theatrical history with derision. However, this edition reveals how these plays documented their own time and helped shape Shakespeare into the most recognizable literary icon in the Western canon.

List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations



Neoclassicism, Eighteenth-Century Drama, and the Making of Shakespeare

The London Stage, 1714–1725

The Theatre Season

Dramatic Production and the Changing Space of the Theatres

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Theatre Royal Haymarket–The King’s Theatre

The Little Theatre at Haymarket

The Political Context of the Theater: Crisis and Stability, 1714–1725

The Hanoverian Succession and the 1715 Jacobite Rising

The South Sea Crisis

The Atterbury Plot

Women in and of the Adaptations

The Adaptations

Note on the Texts

The Invader of his Country, or The Fatal Resentment

The Tragedy of King Richard II

Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester

An Historical Tragedy of the Civil Wars in the Reign of King Henry VI

Henry V, or The Invasion of France by the English

Explanatory Notes



About the Editor