This is the personal form of criticism, focusing on the wide-ranging issues of identity and history raised by "King Lear" by exploring Australians' engagements with the play. Outlaws, irreverent humorists, political underdogs, authoritarians...these are the images of Australians as revealed through the lens of "King Lear". For a very long time there prevailed a generalized view of Australia as a remote outpost ambiguously related to colonial narratives of pioneering hardship. However, starting in the 1970s, a flowering of Australian artefacts (particularly cinema), as well as the financial affordability of travel to Australia, has led to a growing curiosity about the country and a wish to understand its 'narrative'. As much of this narrative comes of people creating culture and society where no laws were believed to have existed, the idea of authority is fundamental, and "King Lear" emerges in an astonishing variety of contexts as we consider the play as a filter for the complexity of Australian social practices.
"The King and I" moves from 1976 through to 2009, taking moments in a personal history to examine, through the lens of "King Lear", themes of authority, indigenous identity, feminism, and political injustice and unrest. "Shakespeare Now!" is a series of short books that engage imaginatively and often provocatively with the possibilities of Shakespeare's plays. It goes back to the source - the most living language imaginable - and recaptures the excitement, audacity and surprise of Shakespeare. It will return you to the plays with opened eyes.
Philippa Kelly is Resident Dramaturg at the California Shakespeare Theater and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She is also Senior Chair at the Endeavour Foundation. Her research has received the support of the Fulbright, Rockerfeller and Walter and Eliza Hall foundations as well as the Australian Research Council.
Introduction: 'Speak What We Feel, Not What We Ought to Say'; 1. Fathers and Mothers; 2. Twenty Years Have Passed; 3. Playing the Fool; 4. Polemics; 5. The Meaning of Words: Changing the Stage; 6. Age is Unnecessary; 7. The Man as the King, the King in the Man; Bibliography; Index.