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Quartos and the First Folio

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Quartos and the First Folio

... As it hath been sundry times publicly acted, by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlain, his servants. Written by William Shakespeare.
1600 First Quarto
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Eighteen of Shakespeare's plays were printed in his lifetime, although there is no sign he took an interest in their publication. They appeared individually in quartos, not much larger than modern paperbacks. About half of the early quartos list the playwright, Shakespeare; almost all give the name of the acting company that performed the play.

Seven years after Shakespeare's death in 1616, a collection of his plays was produced. This single book included 36 plays, eighteen of which were never before published. The text was arranged in double columns on pages nearly a foot high, a "folio" page size. The 1623 volume is thus the First Folio.

Continue ... Comparing the Texts

Adapted from Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (editors), Folger Library Shakespeare editions. © 2005 Folger Shakespeare Library
Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night's Dream. London, 1600


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