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Shakespeare's Consuls, Cardinals, and Kings The Real History Behind the Plays by Dick Riley

Shakespeare's Consuls, Cardinals, and Kings The Real History Behind the Plays


Shakespeare's Consuls, Cardinals, and Kings The Real History Behind the Plays by Dick Riley

Although he would probably deny the charge, William Shakespeare the dramatist was also in many ways William Shakespeare the historian. Shakespeare was fascinated by power and its abuses, by the interplay of the personal and the political. His plays are a guide to how individuals react to the competing pressures of statecraft and personal ambition, fear and love. Indeed, our images of Richard III, Henry V, and Mark Antony are in large degree Shakespeare's. The book will not only consider these cases in the plays themselves, but also in the sources available to Shakespeare - usually Holinshed and Plutarch - the techniques Shakespeare used to transform history into drama (and to keep himself in the good graces of Queen Elizabeth and King James), and what modern historians have come to say in extending our knowledge (sometimes arriving at the same conclusions Shakespeare did). Each chapter includes a sidebar about notable film and stage productions and adaptations - for example, the Oscar-winning A Man for All Seasons , which centres on Henry VIII.


In Shakespeare's Consuls, Cardinals, and Kings , Dick Riley offers an introduction to the ways that Shakespeare turned his sources into plays on both Roman and English history, analyzing what the playwright carefully adopted, what he chose to leave out, and what he reworked. By providing answers to these important questions as well as offering explanations of particular scenes and incidents that demonstrate why Shakespeare's dramas appealed to his audience, his book is an informative and useful guide for students new to Shakespeare studies. Gerald M. Pinciss, Professor of English Emeritus at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of Why Shakespeare?

About the Author

Dick Riley's novels and plays include collaboration on the best-selling Black Sunday (with Thomas Harris), Rite of Expiation, and the drama Middleman Out. He lives in White Plains, New York, USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th April 2008


Dick Riley

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


208 pages


Shakespeare studies & criticism



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