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 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 began in the 1990s. The first editions were initially published by Routledge, then by Thomson, and then by Cengage Learning. In December 2008, the series returned to Methuen, becoming part of Methuen Drama, a subsidiary of A & C Black.[8] From February 2013, the titles have appeared under the Bloomsbury imprint.[9] The general editors are Richard Proudfoot, Ann Thompson, David Scott Kastan, and Henry Woudhuysen. In 2010 an edition of Double Falsehood was published, which was somewhat controversial since this play is generally regarded as non-canonical.[10] Subsequently, Sir Thomas More, a play for which Shakespeare likely contributed only one scene, was published as part of the series.

The Third Series edition of Hamlet, edited by Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor, presents the play in two volumes. The first volume, 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,[11] while the second volume, released a year later, contains the text of the First Quarto (sometimes called the "bad" quarto) of 1603 and the First Folio of 1623[12]

The following is the list of plays published thus far in the Third Series.

Seven canonical plays remain unpublished.[13] Current scheduling means 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.

In addition to these, one further play which has heretofore made up part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha is set to be published in the series:

Fourth Series[edit]

In March of 2015 Bloomsbury Academic named Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, Zachary Lesser of the University of Pennsylvania, and Tiffany Stern of Oxford University as general editors of The Arden Shakespeare, fourth series.[25]

Arden Early Modern Drama[edit]

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

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. ^ 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. ^ About Us, The Arden Shakespeare, A&C Black web site. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  9. ^ See "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
  10. ^
  11. ^ Preface, "Hamlet", Arden 3rd Series
  12. ^ "Hamlet, the Texts of 1603 and 1623", Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series.
  13. ^ Addendum, "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
  14. ^
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  18. ^
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  20. ^
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  25. ^ Deliyannides, Andrew. "Peter Holland Named General Editor of The Arden Shakespeare", University of Notre Dame, 3 March 2015.

External links[edit]