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.
Emma Smith is Fellow and Tutor in English at Hertford College, Oxford. From 1991-97 she was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has lectured and published widely on Shakespeare and early modern drama, including an edition of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (1999).
List of illustrations; Series editors' preface; List of abbreviations; Select chronology of English-language performances; Introduction; King Henry V and commentary; Index.