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The Problem of Dating Shakespeare Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on November 24, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 588 words

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Below is an essay on "The Problem of Dating Shakespeare" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.


The performed plays by S. were not written down by him at first hand, so they were often reconstructed from the memory of the actors and written down either by the actors themselves or by occasional playwrights. Shakespeare was a weird figure during his time since he never left notes about him and his plays. As a matter of fact one of the first problems was the one of establishing whether a play had been really worked up by S. himself and when he wrote the plays. Sometimes they were copied down from rough scripts (original copies of the work often badly written) too. However, the result was always the same: the texts printed in this way were often unreliable. There could be more than one version of the same play, since the company performed the same play several times often adding slight variations or/and omitting details (similar to ballads=there are several versions of the same ballad). These editions were called are usually called ‘bad’ and were published in ‘quarto size’ (= a whole sheet of paper had been folded twice to form 4 leaves. The forma of the paper was extremely pocket so that actors could exit the stage and reading the paper while they were performing). The first complete edition of S.’s canon was published in 1623 by Heminge and Condell, two actors of the King’s Men. The edition was ‘folio’ sized (=the sheet had been folded only once) and was then known as ‘first folio’ (=S’s original and official version of his canon). Here the plays were grouped as Comedies, Histories and Tragedies and not by date or chronological order. For this reason the dates   and order of composition are still difficult to establish. S’s most famous and greatest critic was Sir Edmund K. Chambers (1866-1954; The Elizabethan Stage- 4 volumes, 1923;William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems- 2 volumes; 1930; Shakespearean Gleanings, 1941) who spent all his life studying Shakespeare and comparing ‘quartos’ to date the plays both...

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MLA Citation

"The Problem of Dating Shakespeare". Anti Essays. 11 Dec. 2018


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The Problem of Dating Shakespeare. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://snehaedu.com/free-essays/The-Problem-Of-Dating-Shakespeare-356994.html