Henry IV, Part I & II, A Longman Cultural Edition

William Shakespeare / Ronald Levao  
Total pages
December 2006
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Henry IV, Part I & II, A Longman Cultural Edition
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From the Longman Cultural Editions series, Henry IV, edited by Ronald Levao, is the only paperback edition to bring both Part One and Part Two together in one volume, along with relevant literary and historical contextual materials that illluminate, without overwhelming, the primary texts. 


This edition presents both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays in the authoritative Bevington edition, tracing the full course of Prince Hal's ambiguous journey from prodigal youth to his role as King Henry V, as well as the controversial career of the tavern “king,” Sir John Falstaff.  This format allows the plays to be read either as independent works or as parts of a larger paradoxical structure, with each part reflecting, completing, and complicating the other.  Contextual materials emphasize the plays' historical background, Shakespeare's transformation of his sources, and the intellectual controversies that are embodied in the dramatic action. 


Handsomely produced and affordably priced, Longman Cultural Editions consist of the complete text of an important literary work, reliably edited, headed by an inviting introduction, supplemented by helpful annotations, accompanied by a table of significant dates and a guide for further study, followed by contextual materials that reveal the conversations and controversies of its historical moment.



  • This edition contains the complete text of both Part One and Part Tw o with scene-by-scene summaries of the action added by the editor, allowing introductory and more advanced readers to reference prior, subsequent, or analagous events in either part and in the sequence as a whole.
  • The Introduction discusses the two parts of Henry IV separately, allowing for flexible coverage of the texts.
  • “Obedience, Resistance, and Rebellion” includes contemporary tracts exhorting as well as discouraging political revolutions.
  • “The Fascination of Falstaff” features classic essays by Samuel Johnson and Elizabeth Montague, among others, on the character of the tavern “king,” along with influential models from such texts as Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen.
  • The most important historical, poetic, and dramatic sources appear in tactfully modernized form, together with footnotes, all with a view to readability by the modern student.
  • Contextual materials strke a balance between literary and non-literary concerns.  Unlike some editions, which seek to decenter dramatic and poetic texts by presenting them within a broad anthology of socioeconomic evidence, this edition endorses the essential importance of cultural contexts while assuming the centrality of the literary texts for classroom discussion.
  • A substantial bibliography of secondary sources balances traditional and recent critical interpretation.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

About Longman Cultural Editions About This Edition Introduction

Table of Dates

Select Genealogy


Henry IV, Part One Henry IV, Part Two   Contexts


Shakespeare's Historical Sources

      Raphael Holinshed, from Chronicles of England,

           Scotland, and Ireland, 2nd edition (1587)

        Samuel Daniel, from The First Four Books of the Civil War  

            between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York (1595)

        From The Famous Victories of Henry V (pre-1588?; pub. 1598)

        Sir Thomas Elyot,  fromThe Book Named the Governor  (1531)


Obedience, Resistance, Rebellion

         St. Paul, from Epistle to the Romans, ch. 13

         From Certain Sermons or Homilies (1547, 1563, 1571)

                     From An Exhortation Concerning Obedience(1547)

            From An Homily Against Disobedience and Willful                 Rebellion (1570; 1571).

 John Ponet, from A Short Treatise of Politic Power (1556)

 Philippe du Plessis-Mornay, from Vindiciae contra tyrannos   (The Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants) (1579)


Shakespeare's History Plays

A Catalogue of the several Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies contained in this Volume

William Shakespeare, from Richard II


The Fascination of Falstaff             Key Statements

Samuel Johnson, from The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765)

Elizabeth Montague, from Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare (1769)

Maurice Morgann, from An Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff (1777)

William Hazlitt, from Characters of Shakespeare's Plays (1817)

A. C. Bradley, from “The Rejection of Falstaff,” OxfordLectures on Poetry (1909)

         Partial models

Titus Maccius Plautus, from Miles Gloriosus (The Braggart Soldier)

From The Interlude of Youth

Edmund Spenser, fromThe Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 4

From Oldcastle to Falstaff

John Foxe, from Acts and Monuments (1563)

Raphael Holinshed, fromChronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 2nd edition (1587)

Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway, Antony Munday, and Robert Wilson, Sir John Oldcastle, Part One (Prologue) (1600)

William Shakespeare, from Henry VI, Part One (ca. 1590)


Theatrum Mundi

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola from Oration (on the Dignity of Man) (1486)

Sir Thomas More, from Utopia (1516)

Sir Walter Raleigh, “On the Life of Man”

William Shakespeare, from Richard III (1592), Richard II (1595),  As You Like It (1599), Macbeth (1606), The Tempest (1611)

Back Cover

William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Parts I & II
A Longman Cultural Edition

Editor: Ronald Levao
Series Editor: Susan J. Wolfson

Affordably priced, Longman Cultural Editions present classic works in provocative and illuminating contexts-cultural, critical, and literary. Each Longman Cultural Edition consists of the complete text of a key literary work, supplemented by helpful annotations and followed by contextual materials that reveal the conversations and controversies of its historical moment.

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Ronald Levao received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of Renaissance Minds and Their Fictions: Cusanus, Sidney Shakespeare, editor of Selected Poems of Thomas Campion, Samuel Daniel and Sir Walter Ralegh, and has published numerous essays on Renaissance literature. He has been a member of English Departments at Princeton University and Queens College, City University of New York and is currently at the English Department of Rutgers University, where he specializes in Shakespeare and early-modern intellectual history. He has recently won departmental and university-wide teaching awards.