All our knowledge of Shakespeare derives from the single-play Quarto editions published during his lifetime and the 36 plays collected in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies Published according to the True Originall Copies (London, 1623), the ‘First Folio’ edition, reprinted in 1632, 1664 (with seven additional plays, only one of which was authentic), and 1685.
The editors’ claim that this collection drew on the ‘True Originall Copies’ guaranteed its authenticity, although we now know that Shakespeare had co-authors for five of the plays, a standard practice in the early modern London theatre. But the texts of all these plays, Quarto and Folio, depended on the technology of hand-press printing, with compositors setting the text from a variety of sources, printed editions and theatrical manuscripts of varying legibility. As a result, ever since Nicholas Rowe produced the first modern edition in 1709 there has been a continuous debate about Shakespeare’s text.
In this symposium we will be addressing this issue with a series of studies covering the time span from then till now.
For more information and the full programme please click the book now button.