Originally published in 1988. Arranged by play, the essays presented here focus first on production and then on a range of other issues such as characters, imagery, textual problems and themes.
Both plays were more popular in earlier centuries and most later essayists focused on small issues rather than view the plays in wider perspective.
More recent pieces included here seek organising principles for King John and look in more detail at Henry VIII.
Beginning with the in-depth introduction by the editor, this collection shows the reception of the play by its Elizabethan audience compared to twentieth century audiences and looks at the history portrayed by Shakespeare.
Some chapters review very varied stage productions while others are character analysis or individual focuses.