King Henry V

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.

• An edition of the play which emphasizes performance history • Useful for scholars, actors and directors • Video productions of the two films of this play (Olivier and Branagh) are widely available and make it a popular play to teach in the classroom at undergraduate level


List of illustrations; Series editors’ preface; List of abbreviations; Select chronology of English-language performances; Introduction; King Henry V and commentary; Index.


‘I cannot recommend too highly the whole series (a bargain at £16.99 for each play) to all theatre lovers, theatregoers, theatre practitioners, and anybody who enjoys Shakespeare.’ Robert Tanitch, What\'s on in London