The Oxford Shakespeare: King Henry VIII: Or All is True

This is the first fully annotated and comprehensive modern-spelling edition of King Henry VIII - known in its early performances as All is True - for over ten years. It makes full use of current scholarship on the dating, authorship, printing, and sources of the play, as well as critical interpretations, and includes an up-to-date survey of the play in performance. It is the first edition to make frequent use of Cavendish's life of Cardinal Wolsey, which seems likely to have influenced certain aspects of the play, as well as the other recognized sources in Holinshed, Hall, and Foxe. On authorship, the editor concludes that Shakespeare and his younger colleague John Fletcher worked on the script together but that Shakespeare was probably the guiding spirit, as well as the principal author of several major scenes. That they worked closely together is demonstrated through the consistency of style and overall dramatic structure and theme. The differences between them are by comparison minor and have more to do with spelling, punctuation, and versification than with conceptions of character or other more significant features of the play. The distinctions are thoroughly discussed in the General Introduction. A fully detailed commentary and a selective collation of major variant readings appear immediately beneath the text. Special attention has been given to the frequent allusion to scripture and proverb lore. An index to all words glossed and authorities cited appears at the end of the volume.