Focus on "Henry V":

Navigating Digital Text, Performance, & Historical Resources

Navigating this Book

Audio File

This book includes original scholarship and resources to help students and teachers investigate Shakespeare’s Henry V. It is designed to work at multiple levels, from university instructors looking for new approaches to the play to college students studying the play in class and hoping for additional resources and background to schoolteachers who would like some handy clips to introduce their pupils to Shakespeare on page, stage, or screen.

Like a print book, this digital book has a cover, a Table of Contents, individual chapters, running titles, text on finite pages, and illustrations. Navigating to the menu in the top left-hand corner of the screen (the three bullet points, each followed by a short line) displays the Table of Contents. Unlike a print book, however, some of this text’s illustrations comprise streaming video, each page includes audio files of contributors reading their own or other contributors’ texts, and its still images include audio captions. Also unlike a print book, this text explicitly offers multiple additional ways to navigate this book and to uncover relationships among its chapters.

Moving your cursor or mouse to the menu attached to the circular icon that resembles a magnetic compass shows you some of the textual and thematic routes that a reader can traverse this book. We imagine different audiences navigating this digital book in different ways. A traditional reader might prefer to navigate sequentially, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, through the book, page (or screen) by page, one essay at a time, in order, moving from information about the text of the play, and its sources, to critical interpretations, to stage history, to film and popular adaptations, and finally to lesson plans and teaching aids.

Less traditionally minded readers -- such as an undergraduate student writing a paper -- might start with a particular essay that includes lines that pique the student’s interest, and then move outwards to other essays or to multimedia excerpts in other essays that chime with the student’s concerns. A schoolteacher or high school student might look for commentary or explication or performances of particular lines or speeches. For example, if on October 25th, St. Crispin’s Day, teachers or students feel like comparing historical stage or film declamations of the speech in the twentieth century, or looking at what Shakespeare did with his sources to convert prose history into King Henry’s stirring verse, they can follow this pathway through the book to find the references, clips, images, and arguments within this book concerning this famous speech. Other pathways include study and discussion questions for college students; references to King Henry’s exhortation, “Once more unto the breach!”, and listings of all film-clips and audio files. Students of visual culture and those who “think visually” might choose to explore the rich visualizations that this format produces, such as the data network, scatter, or the more traditional “tree” structures. 

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