The Lear Hypertext

Foolish Text

I consider Foolish Text the main domain for the project.  The entire text of King Lear is here, edited and formatted based on the version at MIT, and a reader could click on “The Text,” then “Scene 1,” and read the text in a linear fashion, just as he or she might read a book.  If a reader were to click on a link in the middle of a speech, after he or she experienced the linked material, clicking the browser’s back button would take him or her straight back to the speech.  The “Home” page of Foolish Text contains links that branch to other areas of the project.  The remaining links across the top of Foolish Text are attempts to play with the ideas of “play” and “text” in general.  ”Time For A Tale?” links mostly to retellings of the Lear story.  ”Play” contains the definition of play from the Oxford English Dictionary, some parts of which are linked to materials from the project.  Across the top of the “Play” page, you’ll find links to compilations of YouTube clips of King Lear performances.  These are largely without commentary, but placing them side-by-side does something, I think.

Deeds Approved

This is the Goneril and Regan show.  Their respective pages consist of their parts, hyperlinked to other pieces of the project and the OED where applicable.  I had planned to have two friends of mine record these parts as they are – strings of text to be spoken by Goneril and Regan, with little context else – but computer problems caused a small catastrophe there.  I thought about recording them myself, but I didn’t want the entire project to be in my own voice.  (If you would like to contribute, please contact me.)  I like to think the pages still offer something.  Kent’s admonition to Goneril and Regan is one of my favorite pieces in the play.  Further, readers can see just how little Goneril and Regan actually speak and, further, what exactly calls them to do so.  This site also houses a few media files for the project.  If you’d like to go directly to those files, click here.

Say Doth Love

This page links most directly to Regan’s and Goneril’s proclamations of love.  It’s more fun than anything else, I think.  I was delighted to find several vintage Valentines that aligned with speeches in King Lear.  I’ve also taken the opportunity to link parts of these speeches to modern love songs.  That’s also fun, and it provides a kind of counterpoint to Mended Speech.


The final major portion of the project is to tell King Lear via LOLcat.  (Find an explanation of LOLcats here, if you don’t already know what’s going on.)  Each LEARcat is linked to its shakespearean context within Foolish Text, but I also kind of love the story they tell on their own.  I definitely want to do more of these, and I’d love to see any you might like to contribute to the project.