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The Second Part of King Henry IV
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  • 19 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 284 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.586 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521869263)

The Second Part of King Henry IV
Cambridge University Press
9780521869263 - The Second Part of King Henry IV - Edited by Giorgio Melchiori

The New Cambridge Shakespeare

General Editor

Brian Gibbons

Associate General Editor

A. R. Braunmuller

From the publication of the first volumes in 1984 the General Editor of the New Cambridge Shakespeare was Philip Brockbank and the Associate General Editors were Brian Gibbons and Robin Hood. From 1990 to 1994 the General Editor was Brian Gibbons and the Associate General Editors were A. R. Braunmuller and Robin Hood.

The Second Part of King Henry IV

Giorgio Melchiori offers a fresh approach to the text of The Second Part of King Henry IV, which he sees as an unplanned sequel to the First Part, itself a ‘remake’ of an old, non-Shakespearean play. The Second Part deliberately exploits the popular success of Sir John Falstaff, introduced in Part One; the resulting rich humour gives a comic dimension to the play which makes it a unique blend of history, Morality play and comedy. Among modern editions of the play this is the one most firmly based on the quarto. It presents an eminently actable text, by showing how Shakespeare’s own choices are superior for practical purposes to suggested emendations, and by keeping interference in the original stage directions to a minimum, in order to respect, as Shakespeare did, the players’ freedom. This updated edition includes a new introductory section by Adam Hansen describing recent stage, film and critical interpretations.

The New Cambridge Shakespeare

All’s Well That Ends Well, edited by Russell Fraser

Antony and Cleopatra, edited by David Bevington

As You Like It, edited by Michael Hattaway

The Comedy of Errors, edited by T. S. Dorsch

Coriolanus, edited by Lee Bliss

Cymbeline, edited by Martin Butler

Hamlet, edited by Philip Edwards

Julius Caesar, edited by Marvin Spevack

King Edward III, edited by Giorgio Melchiori

The First Part of King Henry IV, edited by Herbert Weil and Judith Weil

The Second Part of King Henry IV, edited by Giorgio Melchiori

King Henry V, edited by Andrew Gurr

The First Part of King Henry VI, edited by Michael Hattaway

The Second Part of King Henry VI, edited by Michael Hattaway

The Third Part of King Henry VI, edited by Michael Hattaway

King Henry Ⅷ, edited by John Margeson

King John, edited by L. A. Beaurline

The Tragedy of King Lear, edited by Jay L. Halio

King Richard Ⅱ, edited by Andrew Gurr

King Richard III, edited by Janis Lull

Love’s Labour’s Lost, edited by William C. Carroll

Macbeth, edited by A. R. Braunmuller

Measure for Measure, edited by Brian Gibbons

The Merchant of Venice, edited by M. M. Mahood

The Merry Wives of Windsor, edited by David Crane

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, edited by R. A. Foakes

Much Ado About Nothing, edited by F. H. Mares

Othello, edited by Norman Sanders

Pericles, edited by Doreen DelVecchio and Antony Hammond

The Poems, edited by John Roe

Romeo and Juliet, edited by G. Blakemore Evans

The Sonnets, edited by G. Blakemore Evans

The Taming of the Shrew, edited by Ann Thompson

The Tempest, edited by David Lindley

Timon of Athens, edited by Karl Klein

Titus Andronicus, edited by Alan Hughes

Troilus and Cressida, edited by Anthony B. Dawson

Twelfth Night, edited by Elizabeth Story Donno

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, edited by Kurt Schlueter

The Two Noble Kinsmen, edited by Robert Kean Turner and Patricia Tatspaugh

The Winter’s Tale, edited by Susan Snyder and Deborah T. Curren–Aquino

The early quartos

The First Quarto of Hamlet, edited by Kathleen O. Irace

The First Quarto of King Henry V, edited by Andrew Gurr

The First Quarto of King Lear, edited by Jay L. Halio

The First Quarto of King Richard III, edited by Peter Davison

The First Quarto of Othello, edited by Scott McMillin

The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet, edited by Lukas Erne

The Taming of a Shrew: The 1594 Quarto, edited by Stephen Roy Miller

The Second Part of King Henry IV

Updated edition

Edited by

Giorgio Melchiori

University of California, Los Angeles

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Mexico City

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 1989, 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exceptionand to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,no reproduction of any part may take place withoutthe written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 1989
Updated edition 2007
4th printing 2012

Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon CR0 4YY

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-86926-3 Hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-68950-2 Paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of illustrations
List of abbreviations and conventions
Publication and date
The sources and The Famous Victories
The Henriad as remake
Rewriting the remake
The Morality structure
The comedy of humours
City and country comedy
Time and disease
Part Two on the stage
Recent stage, film and critical interpretations, by Adam Hansen
Note on the text
List of characters
The Play
Textual analysis
1             Shakespeare’s use of Holinshed
2             Some historical and literary sources
3             The Famous Victories
4             Tarlton and the Lord Chief Justice
Reading list


1     Title page of the 1600 quarto (by permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge)
2     A possible Elizabethan staging of the opening scene. Drawing by C. Walter Hodges
3     Act 3, Scene 2: an Elizabethan staging. Drawing by C. Walter Hodges
4     Act 2, Scene 4: Falstaff and Doll Tearsheet. Engraving by W. Leney after the painting by Henry Fuseli, for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, 1789
5     Act 4, Scene 2: the taking of the crown. Engraving by R. Thew after the painting by John Boydell, for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery
6     ‘The hook-nosed fellow of Rome’ (4.1.391). From The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, compared together by the graue learned Philosopher and Historiographer, Plutarke (1579), p. 763 (by permission of the Dean and Chapter of Peterborough Cathedral)
7     Act 4, Scene 2: alternative ways of staging the change of location. Drawings by C. Walter Hodges
8     Theophilus Cibber as Pistol, Drury Lane, 1729
9     Constance Benson as Doll Tearsheet, 1894
10    Dorothy Massingham as Doll Tearsheet, 1932
11    Laurence Olivier as Justice Shallow (photograph: John Vickers)
12    Act 5, Scene 5: Anthony Quayle and Richard Burton, 1951 (photograph: Angus McBean)
13    Act 3, Scene 2: Falstaff enrols his ragamuffins. Hugh Griffith and David Warner, 1964 (photograph: Gordon Goode)
14    Act 5, Scene 4: Gemma Jones as Doll and Miriam Karlin as Mistress Quickly, 1982 (photograph: Chris Davies)
15    Act 4, Scene 1: the slaughter at Gaultree in the 1981–2 Parma production (photograph: Maurizio Buscarino)
16    Act 5, Scene 5: Falstaff pleads with the audience. Gigi dall’Aglio in the 1981–2 Parma production (photograph: Maurizio Buscarino)
17    Jenny Quayle as Doll Tearsheet and John Woodvine as Falstaff, 1986–7 (photograph: Laurence Burns)
18    Michael Gambon as Sir John Falstaff and Susan Brown as Mistress Quickly in Nicholas Hytner’s 2005 National Theatre production, London (photograph taken by and courtesy of Catherine Ashmore)
19    William Houston as Henry V and Desmond Barrit as Falstaff, in Michael Attenborough’s 2000 production at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (photograph by John Haynes, courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
Illustrations 8, 9, 10 and 13 are reproduced by courtesy of the Shakespeare Centre Library, Stratford-upon-Avon


It is unusual to entrust the two parts of Henry Ⅳ to different editors, but the splendid results of this policy in the Variorum edition of half a century ago, when Part One was edited by H. B. Hemingway (1936) and Part Two by M. A. Shaaber (1940), give warrant for adopting it. Concentrating on only one of the two plays an editor is forced to examine with greater care the question of its relationship with the other (and, in the case of Henry Ⅳ, with Henry Ⅴ and The Merry Wives of Windsor as well), so that it becomes a vantage point from which to survey the elusive play of interrelations in the whole sequence of Shakespeare’s histories. Besides, the two parts posit such widely divergent textual problems that a single editor may find it difficult to disentangle them.

In tackling the Second Part I had the advantage of exchanging notes with the editor of the First, Herbert Weil, as well as of enjoying the constant friendly guidance of the General Editor, Philip Brockbank. My greatest debt is to him, while the existence of Shaaber’s edition made my basic task much easier. I have learnt a lot from the more recent editors of the play, notably P. H. Davison and the late A. R. Humphreys, from Harold Jenkins and from a host of scholars whose contributions are at times inadequately recorded in the Introduction and Textual Analysis, or mentioned in the Reading List. But I am particularly grateful to the editors of the play in the new Oxford Shakespeare, John Jowett and Gary Taylor, who kept me informed of the progress of their work: though I was unable to share their views on several points in textual and other matters, their communications have always been extremely stimulating.

My task was made very pleasant by my repeated stays in Cambridge during the last seven years, in the hospitable atmosphere of Clare Hall, to whose President, members and staff I wish to express my thanks for making me welcome at all times. I enjoyed the same warm and friendly welcome at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, whose guest I was in the spring of 1981. I was greatly helped by the constant amicable interest in the progress of my work shown by Muriel Bradbrook, and by her generous hospitality, and I am grateful to Kenneth Muir and the British Academy for offering me, together with the honour, the opportunity of testing some of the ideas resulting from the work on this edition in the Annual Shakespeare Lecture of 1986. Without the constant help over the years of my old friend and colleague Vittorio Gabrieli I would have lost myself in the meanders of British historiography.

I could not have embarked on this enterprise without the facilities and the help offered by the staff of the Cambridge University Library, and especially by Janice Fairholm who hunted up several things for me, of the English Faculty Library in Cambridge, of the Shakespeare Institute and of the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Finally I am grateful for the constant help from the Press, especially Sarah Stanton and Victoria Cooper, who spared me the heavy task of procuring the illustrations. Walter Hodges was delightfully co-operative in producing his admirable drawings. Paul Chipchase went through the typescript with a very fine comb; I lay a personal claim to the mistakes left in it.

G. M.
Clare Hall, Cambridge

Abbreviations and Conventions

Shakespeare’s plays, when cited in this edition, are abbreviated in a style modified slightly from that used in the Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare. Other editions of Shakespeare are abbreviated under the editor’s surname (Holland, Davison), or, in some cases, under the series title (Cam., Globe). When more than one edition by the same editor is cited, later editions are discriminated by a raised figure (Dyce2). All quotations from Shakespeare, except those from The Second Part of King Henry Ⅳ, use the lineation, though not necessarily the spelling, of The Riverside Shakespeare, 1974, on which the Harvard Concordance is based.1. Shakespeare’s plays

Much Ado About Nothing


Antony and Cleopatra


All’s Well That Ends Well


As You Like It






The Comedy of Errors


Edward the Third




The First Part of King Henry the Fourth


The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth


King Henry the Fifth


The First Part of King Henry the Sixth


The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth


The Third Part of King Henry the Sixth


King Henry the Eighth


Julius Caesar


King John


Love’s Labour’s Lost


King Lear




Measure for Measure


A Midsummer Night’s Dream


The Merchant of Venice






King Richard the Second


King Richard the Third


Romeo and Juliet


The Taming of the Shrew


The Tempest


The Two Gentlemen of Verona


Timon of Athens

2. Other works cited and general references
All biblical references are to the Geneva version, 1560.

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