William Shakespeare, the Complete Works, Part 1

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, 1986 - Drama - 1456 pages
A landmark in Shakespeare studies, this version of The Complete Oxford Shakespeare is the first critical edition of the complete works in the original spelling and punctuation. It is based on the most thorough examination ever undertaken of the nature and authority of the earliest manuscripts, representing eight years of work by a team of British and American scholars. The works are arranged in conjectural order of composition based on the new research, and where the opportunity for choice existed, the spelling and punctuation of the text closest to Shakespeare's own manuscript has been chosen. With this Original Spelling Edition scholars and general readers have for the first time--


The uncensored text of Henry IV and the original titles of three other plays


Edited texts of King Lear both as Shakespeare originally wrote it and as it was revised for performance years later
Additional features include--


Major textual alternatives--first versions and deleted lines--are printed as additional passages


Stage directions have been reconsidered in light of the play's original staging and many directions have been added


Conjectural stage directions and speech prefixes are identified in brackets


A general introduction, brief introductions to each work, and an essay on the language of Shakespeare's time are provided

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Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
xi
CONTEMPORARY ALLUSIONS TO SHAKESPEARE
xxxix
COMMENDATORY POEMS AND PREFACES
lvii
Copyright

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About the author (1986)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.