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Since 1606 King Lear has shocked and delighted audiences and given rise to heated critical debate. This sourcebook offers a starting point for those wishing to study Shakespeare's intriguing play in depth. The first secton of the book, Contexts, provides backgroung information, including a chronology of the playwright. It also examines the sources of King Lear , from Holinshed to Spenser. This is followed by a section on Interpretations, covering both critical readings and notable performances of the play. Grace Ioppolo ranges from early critical responses and performances through to recent stage and screen interpretations of Lear. In both these sections, clear introductions and annotation are balanced with reprinted extracts from a range of crucial texts. The third section of the book analyses and reprints key passages from the play, highlighting the most important critical issues and suggesting useful connections with the earlier sections of the book. Annotation offers a guide to Shakespeare's language. Finally, suggestions for Further Reading allow readers to pursue the issues which interest them most. With a remarkable breadth of coverage and a focused, user-friendl approach, this sourcebook is the essential guide for any student of King Lear .