William Shakespeare: King Richard II - König Richard II. Englisch-deutsche Studienausgabe. Deutsch Prosafassung, Anmerkungen, Einleitung und Kommentar von Wilfrid Braun. [William Shakespeare: King Richard II. An English-German Annotated Edition. German prose version, explanatory and textual notes, introduction, and commentary by W.B.] Englisch-deutsche Studienausgabe der Dramen Shakespares, Tübingen: Stauffenburg Verlag, 1980, 302 S., DM 38,- (gebunden) ISBN 3-86057-605-4; DM 29,80 (kartoniert) ISBN 3-86057-545-7.

This is the third volume of a new bilingual Shakespeare edition which aims at helping German readers, theatre-goers , and producers with a knowledge of English to discover "what Shakespeare really wrote". It is designed to meet the needs of those bewildered by the sheer number and variety of translations and stage versions already in existence [...], and it aims to make known in Germany the results of British and American research. The text is accompanied by a prose translation which attempts to be as literal as possible and does not try to imitate the stylistic qualities of the original and which constitutes a kind of running commentary. This is complemented by explanatory notes of the following types: semantic (where the prose version cannot adequately render the meanings of the words and expressions in the English text), stylistic and structural (sound effects, rhetorical figures, word play, etc.), theatrical (the text considered as a theatrical score), and historical (sources and contemporary events and notions important for a better understanding of the text). While the prose version, the theatrical notes, and the explanatory notes mainly serve what might be called a philological purpose, the introduction gives a survey of criticism of the play (as well as dealing with the sources, the text(s), the stage, etc.). The interpretation goes into more detail in the commentary at the end of the volume, where the play is dealt with scence by scene.

The text of the Richard II volume follows that of the Complete Pelican Shakespeare. The textual notes were prepared after comparing the relevant Quarto and Folio editions as well as the critical editions of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; only variant readings constituting significant differences of meaning have been listed and commented on. Textual problems are discussed in the explanatory notes in greater detail: e.g., Heaven's offer we refuse (III.2.31); pastor's (III.3100); Northumberland (V.1.84).

The explanatory notes include information which adds to that found in earlier editions of the play. Special attention has been given to the less obvious instances of implicit stage directions found in the text which complement the stage directions proper by giving valuable hints on production. The stage business is discussed in places where it is left a matter of dispute or interpretation in the original text, as in I.3, n. 26, 27, 59, 60; I.4, n. 1; III.2, n. 40. The traditionally accepted stage directions not found in Q1 (or F1 and Q4 in IV.1.154-318) have been checked throughout and, if necessary, commented on.

Shakespeare's sources are referred to where this serves to clarify historical allusions or where the text's deviations from the traditional accounts of historical events invite interpretation &endash; this excludes all the changes that have been made to accommodate the material to dramatic conventions (cf. IV.1., n. 26, 34; commentary III.3, p. 276; Introduction, p. 12f.).

The textual notes take into consideration a number of other aspects: emblematic references (e.g., II.1., n. 50); rhetorical devices (I.1., n. 3); verse form (I.1., n. 55); Elizabethan physiology and psychology (heart-blood, I.1., n. 54); historical background and allusions (II.1, n. 80, 82, 83; a dearth, III.3, n. 40). In some places attention it drawn to textual features which have traditionally been taken to prove a distinct interpretative approach or which have invited questionable conclusions, e.g., in III.276-81, n. 24. In some textual notes an attempt is made to revise traditional meanings or to supplement these by pointing out possible connotations not found in other editions of the play, for instance in or (I.1.77); reversion (II.2.38); model (III.2.153f.); fair appointments (III.3.53); Her pastor's grass (III.3.100); dead time (IV.1.10).

The scene-by scene commentary aims at giving the functional characteristics of each individual scene while considering aspects of the dramatic language, stage action, literary themes, and stage figures. Anglo-American as well as Continental European criticism has been given due attention and, where representative, is specifically cited. With respect to problems of interpretation an attempt has been made to distinguish between generally accepted critical views and those rejected or ignored by recent commentary. Richard's role from III.2 onwards has always been at the centre of most interpretations and has occasioned widely varying approaches. The commentary (see also "Introduction", pp. 22-28) emphasizes the title figure's function as a politically impotent victim whose command of ritual, gesture, and language paradoxically achieves rhetorical and aeesthetic power.

from:English and American Studies in German : Summaries of Theses and Monographs ; a Supplement to Anglia ; 1980, no. 31, S. 50f.

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