From the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company, the first authoritative, modernized, and corrected edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio in three centuries.
Skillfully assembled by Shakespeare’s fellow actors in 1623, the First Folio was the original Complete Works. It is arguably the most important literary work in the English language. But starting with Nicholas Rowe in 1709 and continuing to the present day, Shakespeare editors have mixed Folio and Quarto texts, gradually corrupting the original Complete Works with errors and conflated textual variations.
Now Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, have edited the First Folio as a complete book, resulting in a definitive Complete Works for the twenty-first century.
Combining innovative scholarship with brilliant commentary and textual analysis that emphasizes performance history and values, this landmark edition will be indispensable to students, theater professionals, and general readers alike.
For more information on this Modern Library edition, visit www.therscshakespeare.com
"Timely, original, and beautifully conceived, this is a remarkable edition, one that makes Shakespeare's extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever."
—James Shapiro, Professor, Columbia University and best-selling author of 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare
“Bate’s edition is incomparably superior to all the rest. His knowledge of textual problems and previous commentary seems to me prodigious in its detail and thoroughness; see, for example, what he says about successive early texts of Richard III. And his comments on individual plays are unfailingly perceptive. He’s about equally fine as scholar and critic; few excel in both roles, with their very different requirements. Bate is like an all-star shortstop who can also serve as an outstanding relief pitcher....No other edition has ever impressed me so much."
—Joseph Sobran, author of William Shakespeare, Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time
“The editors' weighty scholarship is employed with a light touch. They give a lucid explanation of why they have taken the unusual step of basing the entire volume on the text of the First Folio, the posthumous collection made by Shakespeare's fellow actors. This version is a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company. . . . Jonathan Bate is a passionate advocate of Shakespeare and his introductions to individual plays are full of striking and convincing observations. . . . The scholarly apparatus is discreet, elegant and pertinent. For each play, we get a set of "key facts": brief accounts of plots, dates and sources, and useful statistics about the proportions of verse to prose and the length of the major parts. Footnotes are found snugly and legibly at the bottom of each page. . . . elucidating dynastic facts, glossing unfamiliar items of vocabulary, paraphrasing tricky meanings and uncovering bawdy puns. There is a universe to be found in these annotations: the Renaissance world of power and fate, sex and death, language and philosophy. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen have given us an edition full of endless fascination.“
—London Times Education Supplement
About the Editors
Jonathan Bate is professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature at the University of Warwick. Widely known as a critic, award-winning biographer, and broadcaster, Bate is the author of several books on Shakespeare, including Shakespeare and Ovid and The Genius of Shakespeare, which was praised by Peter Hall, founder of the RSC, as “the best modern book on Shakespeare.”
Eric Rasmussen is professor of English at the University of Nevada. He is co-editor of the Norton Anthology of English Renaissance Drama and of the works of Christopher Marlowe in the Oxford World’s Classics series as well as individual plays in the Arden Shakespeare series, the Revels Plays series, and the Malone Society series. Since 1997, he has written the annual review of editions and textual studies for Shakespeare Survey.
The RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) is a world-renowned ensemble theater company in Stratford and London, dedicated to bringing the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries to a modern audience.