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Edward II (New Mermaids)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  3,413 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
This is a modern-spelling, fully-annotated edition of Christopher Marlowe's play "Edward the Second". It is part of the New Mermaids series and includes a critical introduction, biography of the author, discussions of sources, textual details, and information about the staging of the play.
Paperback, 172 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by A & C Black Publishers Ltd (first published 1598)
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(showing 1-30)
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Bill  Kerwin

I wish I could love Edward II. Not only is its treatment of passionate male friendship unique in Renaissance English Drama, but its plotting is exemplary, its rhetoric disciplined, its imagery restrained, and—perhaps its greatest achievement—it expertly summons a coherent historical vision, calling forth the essential events from a myriad of incidents in order to convey a few hard political truths. In addition, not only did Marlowe’s portrait of a weak, self-indulgent monarch inspire Shakespeare
Bookdragon Sean
This is a marvellous play; it is clearly an equal to any of Shakespeare’s histories. It’s such a shame Marlowe had his life cut short; he could have been a real rival to Shakespeare if he wrote more. He’s only got a few plays compared to Shakespeare’s forty or so. He just didn’t write enough before he died; it’s a real tragedy because he had the talent to do so much more.

Well, anyway, this is still superb regardless of Marlowe’s short repertoire of writing. I love the tragic elements, and I lov
This is not so much a review of Edward II as jotting down a few shafts of memory before they completely dissipate.

In November 1969, I went to see a performance of Edward II at "Leeds Grand", a very old, ornate theatre dating from 1878. I was interested in the playwright Christopher Marlowe, as I was studying "Doctor Faustus". My boyfriend had a school trip to see Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, and I was allowed to tag along. (He in turn got to tag along on one of my schools trips later - to se
Andrei Tamaş
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tragedie istorică în cinci acte, surprinzând întreaga domnie a regelui Eduard al II-lea al Angliei. Marlowe comprimă realitatea istorică, din considerente de spaţiu. Opera merită citită, dacă nu pentru cunoaşterea romanţată a istoriei în sine, cel puţin pentru sentimentul de frustrare dobândit în urma relevării unor caractere înzorzonate cu grade ereditare, pioase şi de o uscatime aristocratică, figuri ce conduc destinele atâtor oameni şi în numele cărora se moare fără rost.
What I've learned? When it comes to choosing between your kingdom and a pretty boy, you should probably choose your kingdom. Not that I would, but that probably just strengthens the point.
David Sarkies
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A broad range of people
Recommended to David by: SBS
Shelves: tragedy
A story of sex and politics
15 February 2014

My first encounter with this play was a movie that I watched once on SBS (the Special Broadcasting Commission for you non-Australians – this television station specialises in foreign and art-house programs, and soccer, however it has earned the moniker of 'Sex before Soccer' because a lot of the foreign movies are quite saucey) and I would have to say that this movie pretty much falls into the category of 'gay cinema'. Now, because I am not homosexual
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Shakespeare's Richard II, Edward is an ineffective ruler but not an evil one; Richard prized luxury and pleasure, Edward is blinded by his love for a male commoner. Contrary to what one might think, it's not his homosexuality which offends the nobles (they comment is a typical "weakness" of rulers and noble minds, remembering Alexander or Socrates) but his choice of a low class lover.Edward is unable to play his cards well and his wife and subjects rebel against him, murdering his beloved. ...more
Ana Rînceanu
The 1970 stage adaptation of this play stars Sir Ian McKellen and James Laurenson. It is perfection!


Your lover or your kingdom... you decide...

Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning: this review contains major spoilers!

(view spoiler)
"Cual Juno en delirio llenaré el campo de murmullos, de suspiros y gritos; pues tras Ganimedesl no chocheo Júpiter tanto como él tras el maldito de Gaveston"
Me gusto mucho y también me sorprendió esta tragedia. ¿Recuerdan a aquel príncipe homosexual y apocado de la película "Corazón Valiente" hijo del rey apodado piernas largas? Bueno pues ese es Eduardo II. Esta tragedia me permitió conocer una parte de la historia de Inglaterra que ignoraba. Pues parece que su amor por el noble francés Gavesto
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
estoy en SHOCK general con esta obra eh

(me la he leído teniendo delante la versión de Ian McKellen de 1970)
Alejandro Teruel
An interesting historical play on "The troublesome reign and lamentable death of Edward the Second, King of England; with the tragical fall of proud Mortimer", by Shakespeares contemporary and rival, Kit Marlowe.

Nowadays, it is probably inevitable to start by comparing the two authors; in the case of this play perhaps the closest comparison would be to Shakespeares Richard II, which indeed is sometimes said to have been inspired by Marlowes drama. Both plays are based on similar chronicles about
Timothy Ferguson
It’s always interesting to listen to Elizabethan plays which aren’t Shakespeare. It lets you see how much of the grandeur of his work is based one what, back then, was a sort of national style. Marlowe does good work here, and the readers in the Librivox version are great, but he’s let down a little by the historical events he’s chosen to portray, and the political slant he takes. Basically this is the period where Edward II is infatuated with Piers Gaveston, and splits his realm in half over it ...more
Manik Sukoco
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The edition of Edward II I read was the New Mermaid Series one, which had a very good and informative introduction, and has the spelling modernized. The spelling modernization extends to place names as well as general terms. I am not sure how I feel about spelling modernization, as it is nice to see how the work was originally spelled, but it made the work very easy to read. The play itself is amazing, very engaging even though it is a history, and is mostly based on things that actually happene ...more
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrissie
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie☯
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Richard Burton narrates the playwright's chronicle of the English Crown. Marlowe's Edward II faces rebellion. Stars John Hurt.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to begin my saying that I love this play, and I love Christopher Marlowe. Like many, I presume, I have long been familiar with Marlowe as the arch-rival to Shakespeare. However, as literary study and interest often puts more emphasis on the works of Shakespeare, I had previously never ready any of Marlowe's. It was a real pleasure to discover to discover another great playwright, one clearly deserving of his status as competitor to one of the most celebrated writers in the English canon. (hide spoiler)]

Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stars instead of the 4 the play probably deserves only because my edition had endnotes instead of footnotes, which was endlessly frustrating and flow-obstructing. Not the play's fault, but the experience (unfairly) tainted the play in my first reading of it.

Edward II is less boisterous than any of the other Marlowe plays I've read, which given the subject - the deposition of King Edward II because of his low-class and homosexual love affair with Piers Gaveston - makes sense. Despite the bawd
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Such a boring play. Edward II comes off as a whining idiot. His affection for Gaveston is pathetic and I cannot believe he lasted as king for more than a few weeks. I am not entirely familiar with Edward II as a real person, therefore I cannot comment much on this representation of his character. It does make me wonder how he would react to it though. In this play, he is portrayed as a love sick idiot who is so taken by a man that he forsakes his wife. There is much more to it, but that is ...more
I saw this play at London's National Theatre, so this is as much a play review as a script review. Although the play has its faults, Marlowe expresses the love between the King and his male lover so tenderly that it is SO moving, even to a non- gay like myself. Hanging over this is the knowledge that this is a doomed love, and it must all end with Edward's cruel murder. This play is a part of gay London's history, as it was put on in the sixties ((I think about '69), when people were still reluc ...more
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading EDWARD II in class while studying A-Level English Literature. We got a lot of out fun of it. I was playing Edward and a buddy of mine was Gaveston. We were 16 year olds so you can imagine the laughs we had.

Looking back, this was a strong, solid play and almost as good as the stuff Shakespeare was writing during the same period. The level of ultra violence is there as well as the telling of a genuine historical story. I only knew Edward as that guy in BRAVEHEART who got chucked
Mike Jensen
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent student edition is a good place to begin with Marlowe and this thrilling play. I think editor Martin Wiggins is quite right that Edward's downfall came not because he was homosexual, but because of the political mistakes he made in giving away favors, taxing the barons, and taking advantage of them. He may do much of this because he shows favor to his lovers, but those who bring about Edward's downfall tolerate his lovers until Edward's actions affect them. Great insight into a gr ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a historical figure.
How adorable, how pleasing love is.
The intimacy of two men regardless of disparate backgrounds, regardless of hostile and evil attitudes.
Love is love.
Love is love.
Edward's inner world, naivety that grasp my whole attention.
What a great reading experience it was.
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1594 with a slightly cryptic typeset where 'f' is 's' and 'f', 'VV' is 'W,' 'u' is 'v' and 'u,' etc., yet after a few pages the conversion of letters becomes almost automatic. Long play, large cast of characters, with important death scenes too briefly brushed away. Yet this is a rare play that is able to turn a villain into a hapless human being and a virtuous hero into a villain.
Amy Norris
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I love Marlowe, and this is one of his best - confusingly heartbreaking and brilliant and incredible. Edward's speech in Act 3 Scene 2 (lines 128-47) is so fantastically bombastic that I just want to have it played on loop constantly. If I had a one-use time machine I would 100% spend my singular journey preventing Marlowe's premature death.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What. The fuck. Did I just read.
Alex Norcross
An interesting glimpse at English Renaissance homosexuality and an interesting study on the nature of kingship and rebellion.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more beautifully written plays from this time I've had to read. Personally, I think Marlowe's writing is much more beautiful (and more interesting!) than Shakespeare's.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rounding out my reading stemming from Shakespeare’s Richard II is Marlowe’s Edward II, which also tackles the deposing of an incompetent king.

As I’ve come to expect from Marlowe, depravity – partially as regards onstage violence – is the name of the game. Reading Marlowe’s plays always remind me why it’s easy to believe the many stories of intrigue that surround his life.

But I digress.

Before cracking open Edward II, I had no idea that Elizabethan drama featured an openly gay character – or that
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, uni
I have skimmed through the book in class and loved most of it, so evocative and dramatic--it'd be fantastic on stage. Will finish it later, but I'm marking it as read, because I'll probably be swamped with stuff to do.
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Christopher "Kit" Marlowe (baptised 26 February 1564) was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. The foremost Elizabethan tragedian next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his magnificent blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his own mysterious and untimely death.

The author's Wikipedia page.
More about Christopher Marlowe...

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“All live to die, and rise to fall.” 41 likes
“I must have wanton Poets, pleasant wits,
Musitians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please:
Musicke and poetrie is his delight,
Therefore ile have Italian maskes by night,
Sweete speeches, comedies, and pleasing showes,
And in the day when he shall walke abroad,
Like Sylvian Nimphes my pages shall be clad,
My men like Satyres grazing on the lawnes,
Shall with their Goate feete daunce an antick hay.
Sometime a lovelie boye in Dians shape,
With haire that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearle about his naked armes,
And in his sportfull hands an Olive tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by,
One like Actaeon peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angrie goddesse be transformde,
And running in the likenes of an Hart,
By yelping hounds puld downe, and seeme to die.
Such things as these best please his majestie,
My lord.”
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