King Lear

Second edition

By Alexander Leggatt

King Lear

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6225-4
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: August 2004
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, Ireland, Literary studies: general, Literature: history & criticism, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature
  • Series: Shakespeare in Performance


This updated and expanded analysis of King Lear in performance includes new chapters on the television version of the Royal National Theatre production directed by Richard Eyre and starring Ian Holm; and on Akira Kurosawa's 'Ran'. Earlier chapters provide close, detailed analyses of the stage, film and television interpretations of John Gielgud, Harley Granville Barker, Paul Scofield, Peter Brook, Peter Ustinov, Michael Gambon, Adrian Noble, Grigori Kozintsev, Michael Hordern, Jonathan Miller, Laurence Olivier and Michael Elliott.

By examining such issues as the playing of Lear, the staging of the storm and the battle, and the choice of historical period, this book shows how interpretation and performance are bound together, and how the play is transformed through different historical and political contexts.

This will be essential reading for students in English, drama or film at any level, theatregoers, and anyone involved in productions of the play.


List of Illustrations
1. Problems and choices
2. John Gielgud and Harley Granville Barker
3. Peter Brook and Paul Scofield
4. Robin Philips and Peter Ustinov
5. Adrian Noble, Michael Gambon and Anthony Sher
6. Grigori Kozintsev
7. Peter Brook
8. Jonathan Miller and Michael Hordern
9. Laurence Olivier
10. Ian Holm and Richard Eyre
11. Cross-cultural dialogue: Akira Kurosawa's 'Ran'
12. Conclusion


Alexander Leggatt is Professor of English at University College, University of Toronto

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