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Illustrated “King Lear” From 1930 Is Horrifying and Creepy

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King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Illustrator John Yunge-Bateman portrays the mad Edgar being tormented by five evil spirits in a scene you may have missed from “King Lear.” Image source: ebay.com

Shakespeare’s “King Lear” is a nihilistic and disturbing play, to be sure, but it’s not really a grotesque, sexually-charged horror story. Or is it? A 1930 edition of the play (which was first performed in 1606) has turned up on eBay, and its illustrations offer a vision you might not recognize from your high school English literature class. The drawings are by John Yunge-Bateman, who has clearly studied Aubrey Beardsley’s work. Yunge (as he signs his images) has a knack for pulling out the strangest lines and making them even creepier in pictures—using thong underwear or bugged-out eyeballs (a la Marty Feldman) as he sees fit. (Tip: io9 / eBay)

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act I, Scene 1. Kent to Lear: “To plainness honor’s bound / When majesty falls to folly.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act I, Scene 2. Edmund says married people “doth within a dull, stale, tirèd bed / Go to th’ creating a whole tribe of fops” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act I, Scene 3. Goneril to Oswald: “If you come slack of former services / You shall do well.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act I, Scene 4. Lear: “O Lear, Lear, Lear! / (strikes his head) Beat at this gate that let thy folly in / And thy dear judgment out!” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act II, Scene 4. Lear to Regan and Goneril: “If only to go warm were gorgeous, / Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st, / Which scarcely keeps thee warm.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act III, Scene 4. Lear’s Fool tells him to keep his clothes on: “Prithee, nuncle, be contented. ‘Tis a naughty night to swim in.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act IV, Scene 1. Crazy Edgar, now calling himself Poor Tom: “Five fiends have been in poor Tom at once: of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and waiting-women.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act IV, Scene 2. Goneril to Edmund: “This kiss, if it durst speak, / Would stretch thy spirits up into the air.” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act IV, Scene 7. Lear to Cordelia: “Thou art a soul in bliss but I am bound / Upon a wheel of fire” Image source: ebay.com

King Lear illustrated by John Yunge-Bateman

Act V, Scene 3: Lear, carrying the dead body of his daughter Cordelia: “Howl, howl, howl, howl!” Image source: ebay.com

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Published on: March 25, 2015

Filled Under: Artwork, Featured, Top News

Views: 6924

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