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.
The first series was published by Methuen. Its first publication was Edward Dowden's edition of Hamlet, published in 1899. 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). 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, as revised in 1891-93.
The list of the first series is as follows:
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). 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.
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.
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, while the supplementary 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).
As of May 2017[update], editions of three canonical plays remain uncompleted: All's Well That Ends Well, edited by Helen Wilcox; King John, edited by John Tobin and Jesse Lander; and Measure for Measure, edited by A. R. Braunmuller.
What follows is a list of editions published in the third series thus far, or which have been announced for publication by mid-2017.
|King Henry V||1995||
|Antony and Cleopatra||1995||
|The Two Noble Kinsmen||1996||
||The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.|
||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.|
||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).|
|Troilus and Cressida||1998||
|Love's Labour's Lost||1998||
|King Henry VI Part 2||1999||
|The Merry Wives of Windsor||1999||
|King Henry VI Part 1||2000||
|King Henry VIII||2000||
||The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.|
|King Henry VI Part 3||2001||
|King Richard II||2002||
|King Henry IV Part 1||2002||
|The Two Gentlemen of Verona||2004||
||The play is attributed to Shakespeare and George Wilkins on the title page.|
|Much Ado About Nothing||2005||
||Contains the Q2 (1604) text.|
|Hamlet: The Texts of 1603 and 1623||2007||
||Contains the Q1 (1603) and FF (1623) text. A supplementary volume to the main edition (above) based on Q2 (1604).|
|As You Like It||2006||
||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 Shakespeare.|
|Timon of Athens||2008||
||The play is attributed to Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton on the title page.|
|King Richard III||2009||
|The Taming of the Shrew||2010||
|The Winter's Tale||2010||
|The Merchant of Venice||2011||
|Romeo and Juliet||2012||
|King Henry IV Part 2||2016||
|The Comedy of Errors||2016||
|A Midsummer Night's Dream||(planned)||
|All's Well That Ends Well||(planned)||
|Measure for Measure||(planned)||
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 a third announced for release in 2017.
- Double Falsehood, edited by Brean Hammond (2010)[a]
- Sir Thomas More, edited by John Jowett (2011)[b]
- King Edward III, edited by Richard Proudfoot and Nicola Bennett (2017) 
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, seven editions have been reissued in revised form with an eighth announced for 2018.
- Shakespeare's Sonnets (2010)
- The Tempest (2011)
- The Two Noble Kinsmen (2015)
- Troilus and Cressida (2015)
- Much Ado About Nothing (2016)
- Othello (2016)[c]
- Hamlet (2016)
- Titus Andronicus (January 2018) 
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.
Arden Early Modern Drama
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 Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, edited by Leah Marcus (2009)
- Everyman and Mankind, edited by Douglas Bruster and Eric Rasmussen (2009)
- Philaster by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, edited by Suzanne Gossett (2009)
- The Renegado by Philip Massinger, edited by Michael Neill (2010)
- 'Tis Pity She's a Whore by John Ford, edited by Sonia Massai (2011)
- The Tragedy of Mariam by Elizabeth Cary, edited by Ramona Wray (2012)
- The Island Princess by John Fletcher, edited by Clare McManus (2013)
- The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd, edited by Clara Calvo and Jesús Tronch (2013)
- A Jovial Crew by Richard Brome, edited by Tiffany Stern (2014)
- The Witch of Edmonton by Thomas Dekker, John Ford and William Rowley, edited by Lucy Munro (2016).
- A Woman Killed with Kindness by Thomas Heywood, edited by Margaret Kidnie (2017).
Arden has also published a Complete Works of Shakespeare, which reprints editions from the second and third series.
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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- Juliet Dusinberre, introduction to "As You Like It", Arden Shakespeare, Third Edition
- General Editors' Preference, The Tempest, Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series, 1999
- Copyright page, "The Tempest", edited by Frank Kermode, Arden 2nd Series, 1954
- General Preface, King Lear, The Arden Shakespeare, copyrighted 1917
- General Editor's Preface by Una Ellis-Fermor, dated 1951, as printed in Macbeth, Arden Shakespeare, 2nd Series
- "The works of Shakespeare: London, Methuen [1899-1930]". Stanford University Library. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- Copyright page, "Macbeth", edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden 2nd Series, printed 1994
- See "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
- Preface, "Hamlet", Arden 3rd Series
- "Hamlet, the Texts of 1603 and 1623", Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series.
- Bloomsbury Publishing Website, accessed April 6, 2017.
- Bloomsbury Publishing Website, accessed April 29, 2017.
- Deliyannides, Andrew. "Peter Holland Named General Editor of The Arden Shakespeare", University of Notre Dame, 3 March 2015.