The editors’ introduction addresses what is known about the original writing of the play and its evolution through seven editions. Historical context, cultural references, and literary sources are also covered. A discussion of the play’s themes, characters, and allusions precedes the text of Romeo and Juliet. The text includes two appendices: The Queen Mab speech as it was printed in Q1, and extracts from Brooke’s Romeus and Juliet, 1562. Arden’s edition also includes a guide to abbreviations and references used in the text.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.