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This is the first stage history of Shakespeare's King Henry V to cover the play's theatrical life since its first performance in 1599. Staging this play has always been a political act, and the substantial introduction traces its theatrical interventions into conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to Vietnam and the Falklands crisis, offering a complete account of the play's fortunes: from its absence in the seventeenth century to its dominant position as historical spectacle in the Victorian period, through twentieth-century productions, which include the popular films by Olivier and Branagh. Together they raise vital interpretative questions: is Henry V an epic of English nationalism, a knowing and cynical piece of power politics, or an anti-war manifesto? The volume also includes the play text, illustrations and detailed footnotes about major performances.
Cambridge University Press
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