Arden Shakespeare

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The Arden Shakespeare is a long-running series of scholarly editions of the works of William Shakespeare. It presents fully edited modern-spelling editions of the plays and poems, with lengthy introductions and full commentaries. There have been three distinct series of the Arden Shakespeare over the past century, and the third series has not yet been completed. Arden was the maiden name of Shakespeare's mother, Mary, however the primary reference of the enterprise's title is named after the Forest of Arden, in which Shakespeare's As You Like It is set.[1]

First Series[edit]

The first series was published by Methuen. Its first publication was Edward Dowden's edition of Hamlet, published in 1899.[2] Over the next 25 years, the entire canon of Shakespeare was edited and published. The original editor of the Arden Shakespeare was William James Craig (1899-1906), succeeded by R. H. Case (1909-1944).[3] The text of the Arden Shakespeare, First series, was based on the 1864 "Globe" or Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, edited by William George Clark and John Glover,[4] as revised in 1891-93.[5]

Second Series[edit]

The second series began in 1946, with a new group of editors freshly re-editing the plays, and was completed in the 1980s. It was published by Methuen in both hardback and paperback. Later issues of the paperbacks featured cover art by the Brotherhood of Ruralists. The Second Series was edited by Una Ellis-Fermor (1946–58); Harold F. Brooks (1952–82), Harold Jenkins (1958–82) and Brian Morris (1975–82).[6] Unlike the First Series, where each volume was based on the same textual source (The Globe Shakespeare), the individual editors of each volume of the Second Series were responsible for editing the text of the play in that edition.[7]

The complete list of the second series is as follows:

Editor Title Year of publication Notes
Kenneth Muir Macbeth 1951
Richard David Love's Labour's Lost 1951
Kenneth Muir King Lear 1952
Maxwell Titus Andronicus 1953
Frank Kermode The Tempest 1954 Reprinted with revisions in 1957.
Ridley Antony and Cleopatra 1954 The introduction by Case from the First Series was reprinted.
Walter Henry V 1954
E. A. J. Honigmann King John 1954 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
John Russell Brown The Merchant of Venice 1955
T. S. Dorsch Julius Caesar 1955
J. M. Nosworthy Cymbeline 1955 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
Peter Ure Richard II 1956
Andrew S. Cairncross 2 Henry VI 1957
R. A. Foakes Henry VIII 1957
H. J. Oliver Timon of Athens 1959
Ridley Othello 1959
G. K. Hunter All's Well that Ends Well 1959 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
A. R. Humphreys 1 Henry IV 1960
Andrew S. Cairncross 1 Henry VI 1962
R. A. Foakes Comedy of Errors 1962 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
F. D. Hoeniger Pericles 1963
J. H. P. Pafford The Winter's Tale 1963
Andrew S. Cairncross 3 Henry VI 1964
J. W. Lever Measure for Measure 1964 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
A. R. Humphreys 1 Henry VI 1966
Clifford Leech Two Gentlemen of Verona 1969
H. J. Oliver The Merry Wives of Windsor 1971
Agnes Latham As You Like It 1975
J. M. Lothian and Thomas W. Craik Twelfth Night 1975
Philip Brockbank Coriolanus 1976
Harold F. Brooks A Midsummer Night's Dream 1979 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
Brian Gibbons Romeo and Juliet 1980
A. R. Humphreys Much Ado About Nothing 1981
Anthony Hammond Richard III 1981
Brian Morris The Taming of the Shrew 1981
A. R. Humphreys King Henry IV, Part 2 1981 Most up-to-date version available as of July 2015.
K. J. Palmer Troilus and Cressida 1982
Harold Jenkins Hamlet 1982

Third Series[edit]

The third series of the Arden Shakespeare began to be edited during the 1980s, with publication starting in the 1990s.

The first editions in this series were published by Routledge, before moving to Thomson. They then moved to Cengage Learning. In December 2008, the series returned to Methuen, becoming part of Methuen Drama, its original publisher. From February 2013, the titles have appeared under the Bloomsbury imprint.[8]

The editions in the third series are published very much in line with the traditions established by the Arden Shakespeare; however, editions in this series tend to be much thicker than those of the first and second series, with more explanatory notes and much longer introductions. One unusual aspect of this series is its edition of Hamlet, which presents the play in two separate volumes. The first, released in 2006, contains an edited text of the Second Quarto (1604–05), with passages found only in the First Folio included in an appendix,[9] while the second volume, released a year later, contains both the text of the First Quarto (sometimes called the "bad" quarto) of 1603, and of the First Folio of (1623).[10]

The general editors for this series are Richard Proudfoot; Ann Thompson of King's College London; David Scott Kastan of Yale University; and H. R. Woudhuysen of the University of Oxford.


What follows is a list of editions published in the third series thus far.

Currently, seven canonical plays within the Shakespeare canon remain unpublished. These editions are expected to be release during 2016, meanings that the complete works of Shakespeare will have been reissued in the third series in a manner coinciding with the 400th anniversary of his death.


The third series is also notable to publishing single-volume editions of certain plays which traditionally form part of the so-called Shakespeare Apocrypha, but for which there is considered good evidence of Shakespeare having at least been part author. Two apocryphal plays have so far been published in this manner, with one more planned for release in the near future.

Revised Editions[edit]

Due to the long period of time over which the series has been published, many of the editions listed above have been (or are planned to be) re-issued in revised editions, The first - Shakespeare's Sonnets - was published in 2010, fifteen years after the series began. Thus far, four editions have been revised, with three further revisions set for release in 2016:

  • Shakespeare's Sonnets (2010)
  • The Tempest (2011)
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen (2015)
  • Troilus and Cressida (2015)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2016)
  • Othello (2016)[j]
  • Hamlet (2016)

Fourth Series[edit]

In March 2015, Bloomsbury Academic named Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, Zachary Lesser of the University of Pennsylvania, and Tiffany Stern of the University of Oxford as general editors of the Arden Shakespeare Fourth Series.[11]

Arden Early Modern Drama[edit]

In 2009, the Arden Shakespeare launched a companion series, entitled "Arden Early Modern Drama". The series follows the formatting and scholarly style of the Arden Shakespeare Third Series, but shifts the focus onto less well-known English Renaissance playwrights, primarily the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods (although the plays Everyman and Mankind hail from the reign of King Henry VII.

The general editors for this series are Suzanne Gossett of Loyola University Chicago; John Jowett of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; and Gordon McMullan of King's College London.

Complete Works[edit]

Arden has also published a Complete Works of Shakespeare, which reprints editions from the second and third series.

Critical Literature[edit]

The Arden Shakespeare has also published a number of series of literary and historical criticism to accompany the Arden Shakespeare Third Series and Arden Early Modern Drama imprints.


  1. ^ The play is attributed to "John Fletcher and William Shakespeare" on the title page.
  2. ^ It is interesting - considering the editors' decision to publish the three versions of Hamlet as three separate texts - that Foakes' edition of King Lear is based upon a conflation of the quarto and folio texts of the tragedy, disregarding the practice established by the Oxford Shakespeare of treating them as two separate texts.
  3. ^ Contains every poetic work included in the original Shakespeare's Sonnets quarto of 1609 - that is, 154 sonnets, plus the narrative poem A Lover's Complaint (a work the authorship of which is often disputed).
  4. ^ The play is attributed to "William Shakespeare and John Fletcher" on the title page.
  5. ^ The play is attributed to "William Shakespeare and George Wilkins on the title page.
  6. ^ Contains Shakespeare's two major narrative poems - Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece - as well as his metaphysical poem The Phoenix and the Turtle, plus several shorter works attributed to his authorship.
  7. ^ The play is attributed to "William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton" on the title page.
  8. ^ The edition adopts the belief that the play is the only surviving version of Shakespeare and Fletcher's lost tragicomedy Cardenio, revised by Lewis Theobald for eighteenth century audiences.
  9. ^ This edition identifies Shakespeare as one reviser of a play originally written by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, the other revisers supposedly being Chettle, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood, and the unidentified "Hand C".
  10. ^ Owing to the 2011 death of E. A. J. Honigmann, the original editor, the revision of this edition has been undertaken by Ayanna Thompson. This is the only instance in the series (so far) where the revising editor has been different to the original editor.


  1. ^ Juliet Dusinberre, introduction to "As You Like It", Arden Shakespeare, Third Edition
  2. ^ General Editors' Preference, The Tempest, Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series, 1999
  3. ^ Copyright page, "The Tempest", edited by Frank Kermode, Arden 2nd Series, 1954
  4. ^ General Preface, King Lear, The Arden Shakespeare, copyrighted 1917
  5. ^ General Editor's Preface by Una Ellis-Fermor, dated 1951, as printed in Macbeth, Arden Shakespeare, 2nd Series
  6. ^ Copyright page, "Macbeth", edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden 2nd Series, printed 1994
  7. ^ GenPref2
  8. ^ See "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
  9. ^ Preface, "Hamlet", Arden 3rd Series
  10. ^ "Hamlet, the Texts of 1603 and 1623", Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series.
  11. ^ Deliyannides, Andrew. "Peter Holland Named General Editor of The Arden Shakespeare", University of Notre Dame, 3 March 2015.

External links[edit]