This is an invaluable introductory guide for the English student who needs to decipher a page from a play, or a facsimile equivalent, from the Shakespearean period. The original quartos and folios of early play texts are increasingly subject to editorial and critical scrutiny, and electronic facsimiles are making the originals accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. Giddens provides a practical 'how to' guide to the original printed texts of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He explains how the features of the play text came about, what the different elements mean, and who created them. The book provides that important first step towards bibliography and critical editing, presenting a detailed account of how to read these early texts and how they have been turned into the modern editions we are accustomed to.
Eugene Giddens is Skinner-Young Professor in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. He is an associate editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson and a general editor of The Complete Works of James Shirley.
Introduction; 1. The creation and circulation of play texts; 2. The features of play texts; 3. Reading the originals; 4. Reading modern editions; Bibliography.