The story of King Lear and his three daughters existed in some form up to four centuries before Shakespeare recorded his vision. Lear was a British King who reigned before the birth of Christ, allowing Shakespeare to place his play in a Pagan setting. Predated by references in British mythology to Lyr or Ler, Geoffrey of Monmouth recorded a story of King Lear and his daughters in his Historia Regum Britanniae of 1137. Dozens of versions of the play were then written up, highlighting certain events, such as the love test, or expanding upon the story, such as creating a sequel where Cordelia committed suicide. Most of these versions had a happy ending, though untrue to the story, where peace was restored under the reign of Lear and Cordelia. Shakespeare however had no interest in writing a tragicomedy.
The basis of Shakespeare's version, written in 1604-05, is that Lear is betrayed by two of his three daughters but is reconciled to his youngest, Cordelia, at the end. Courtly machinations for power and land surround these characters, with the Earls of Kent (Cordelia's fiance) and Gloucester providing counterpoints to Lear's predicament. In addition, Lear's descent into madness adds a foreboding element to this tragedy and is entirely of Shakespeare's own creation.
Four lectures by literary scholars: all students and faculty are welcome.
Those attending three of the lectures will receive a certificate of completion.
Lecture 1 - October 20th
7:00 - 8:15 PM
David Bevington Horton
Distinguished Humanities, Professor,
          University of Chicago
Lecture 2 - October 27th
7:00 - 8:15 PM
Perry Buckley
Professor of English,
            University of Chicago
Lecture 4 - November 10th
7:00 - 8:15 PM
Richard A. Strier
Sulzberger Professor,
          University of Chicago
Lecture 3 - November 3rd
7:00 - 8:15 PM
James M. Redfield
Edward Olson
Distinguished Service, Professor,
Dept. Classic CMTE. Social Thought
Theater at Northside College Preparatory High School
5501 N. Kedzie Ave. (and Bryn Mawr)
To register or for inquiries, contact     Edward Mogul, (773) 769- 0591,

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