In ""The King My Father's Wrack"", Stephen K. Land sheds light on the issues of guilt and responsibility built into the structure of Shakespearian drama. In his mature plays, Shakespeare presents moral failure as entailed upon mortality. Dying kings, such as ""Lear"", ""Richard II"", and the ghost in ""Hamlet"" are emblematic of the paradoxical self-frustration of human aspiration. In the late plays, the romances, Shakespeare treats of the resolution, the healing of the stricken king. This is an interpretative study of the underlying moral coherence of Shakespearian drama. It examines the ways in which Shakespeare constructs his stories, comparing the plays with one another and with their chief sources. The result is an overview encompassing all the plays except the early histories and some of the collaborative works. Written in plain terms and without theoretical assumptions, it will be of interest to all students of Shakespeare as well as to the specialist.
Stephen K. Land gained a first class degree in English at Cambridge and a doctorate from the University of Toronto, where he worked under Northrop Frye. He has taught at the University of Virginia and at a private school in England. He now lives in Wales.
Introduction; Chapter One; 1. Inner Worlds; 2. Danger of Excess; 3. Lords of Misrule; 4. Companions; 5. Denial of Mortal Nature; Chapter Two; 1. Stories of Love and Power; 2. Villains; 3. Victims of Tragedy; 4. Rejected Heroines; 5. The Day of Judgment; Chapter Three; 1. The Dying King; 2. King John; 3. Richard II; 4. Henry IV; 5. Julius Caesar; 6. The Merchant of Venice; 7. The Ghost in Hamlet; 8. The King of France; Chapter Four; 1. The Pattern of the Romances; 2. King Lear; 3. Pericles; 4. Cymbeline; 5. The Winter's Tale; 6. The Tempest; 7. An Art that Nature Makes; Conclusion; Notes; Index.