Making editions for close readers: the Arden Shakespeare 1899-1904
conference contributionposted on 2010-03-22, 12:14 authored by Gabriel Egan
No-one reads a Shakespeare play more closely than an editor making a critical edition, although the closeness varies between series. The Arden Shakespeare (1899-) was the most successful mass readership Shakespeare edition in the twentieth century, articulating recondite textual matters to scholarly readers while also providing commentary and notes for the general reader, the student, and the theatre practitioner. Here I examine the first 8 volumes by 6 editors, published immediately prior to the New Bibliography that can for convenience be dated from the publication of A. W. Pollard's Shakespeare Folio and Quartos (1909). I try to characterize these editors' close engagements with the texts and in particular their confidence that their labour could bring close readers closer to Shakespeare than they might get using the facsimiles of early printings that were, at this time, starting to become cheaply available.
- The Arts, English and Drama
- English and Drama