Deadwood and Shakespeare

The Henriad in the Old West

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About the Book

Set in politically unstable environments, Shakespeare’s history plays—Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV and Henry V—and HBO’s Western series Deadwood (2004–2006) all stand as critiques of myths of national origin, the sanitized stories we tell ourselves about how power imposes order on chaos. Drawing parallels between the Shakespeare plays and Deadwood, the author explores questions about legitimate political authority, the qualities of an effective leader, gender roles and community, and the reciprocal relationship between past and present in historical narratives.

About the Author(s)

Susan Cosby Ronnenberg is a professor of English in Winona, Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

Susan Cosby Ronnenberg
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6575-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3095-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Genres, Settings and Themes: Historical and Political Worlds in Transition 9
2. Seth Bullock as “Hotspur” and Prince “Hal” 36
3. Al Swearengen as Bolingbroke/Henry IV and Falstaff 59
4. Father-Son Relationships 81
5. Women’s Marginalization 103
6. Managing Audience Responses through Narrative Space and Events 129
7. Managing Audience Responses through Character 158
Conclusion 174
Appendix: Deadwood Episodes 177
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 187
Index 193

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Frank James, if he were alive today, would enjoy reading this scholarly work.”—Roundup Magazine.