"King Henry IV" : Pt. 1, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


David Scott Kastan lucidly explores the remarkable richness and the ambitious design of King Henry IV Part 1 and shows how these complicate any easy sense of what kind of play it is.

Conventionally regarded as a history play, much of it is in fact conspicuously invented fiction, and Kastan argues that the non-historical, comic plot does not simply parody the historical action but by its existence raises questions about the very nature of history.

The full and engaging introduction devotes extensive discussion to the play's language, indicating how its insistent economic vocabulary provides texture for the social concerns of the play and focuses attention on the central relationship between value and political authority.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Shakespeare plays
  • ISBN: 9781904271352

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

I only have to read part one for my class, but I think I'll read part two, too, in due course. Falstaff is amusing, and I rather enjoy Hal, too. I preferred it to Richard II, I think.<br/><br/>No need to say that I loved the language and thought it'd be even better on the stage. That's just Shakespeare for you.<br/><br/>(Why didn't I used to like Shakespeare? Probably because I repeatedly got Romeo &amp; Juliet shoved down my throat, and his comedies aren't to my taste.)

Review by

I was a bit worried that I wouldn't get it, since I always have trouble with any books or movies which mix the funny and the serious. But I had no problems with this (unlike, say, The Tempest). Looking forward to part II and Henry V. <br/><br/>"But thoughts, the slaves of life, and life, time's fool<br/>And time, that takes survey of all the world,<br/>Must have a stop." Hotspur, V 4 80-82. <br/><br/>"Why? She's neither fish nor flesh; a man knows not where to have her."<br/>"Thou art an unjust man in saying so. Thou or any man knows where to have me, thou knave thou." Falstaff &amp; Mrs Quickly, III 3 126-129.

Review by

It doesn't have the famous speeches of Henry V, but it has the action, the humor, Hotspur, and... FALSTAFF. I can only imagine some Elizabethan Chris Farley got rich off this part. It would only make sense.

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