King Lear by William Shakespeare
(The New Folger Library Shakespeare)

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In the end, I recommend this book to people with a deeper purpose to read. Anyone who reads it should know that it takes time to read old English. The Madness of King Lear can be a great novel for those looking for a major challenge.
-Teen Ink

Synopsis

An ageing king makes a capricious decision to divide his realm among his three daughters according to the love they express for him. When the youngest daughter refuses to take part in this charade, she is banished, leaving the king dependent on her manipulative and untrustworthy sisters. In the scheming and recriminations that follow, not only does the king's own sanity crumble, but the stability of the realm itself is also threatened.
 

About William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.
 
Published June 1, 1998 by Signet. 353 pages
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Critic reviews for King Lear
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Cstudey on Jun 03 2015

In the end, I recommend this book to people with a deeper purpose to read. Anyone who reads it should know that it takes time to read old English. The Madness of King Lear can be a great novel for those looking for a major challenge.

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Rebecca Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Rebecca Reid on Mar 31 2010

I had to read it. Watching it first really convinced me that plays are meant to be watched and not read. While reading it let me take in all the great speeches and possibly remember them better, reading King Lear lacked the magic that the acting created. It was so well done.

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http://www2.webster.edu

Above average
Reviewed by Bob Corbett on Sep 01 2009

I must admit, I was suspecting to be more moved and delighted with my reading that I was. It didn’t come to the high points for me that plays like Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet...Nonetheless, it was impressive and an curious read...I wouldn’t have missed this reread, but it just didn’t touch me in way that at least a dozen other of the plays has done.

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