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This Edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare, printed for Subscribers only, is limited to One Thousand numbered sets of which this is


Copyright, 1901, by
The University Society


Edwin Booth as “Hamlet(Photogravure) FRONTISPIECE



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Hamlet and Ophelia .
Ophelia Strewing Flowers
The Death of Ophelia .
Hamlet and Laertes at the Bier of Ophelia

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The Early Editions. The authorised text of Hamlet is based on (i.) a Quarto edition published in the year 1604, and (ii.) the First Folio version of 1623, where the play follows Julius Cæsar and Macbeth, preceding King Lear. The Quarto of 1604, has the following titlepage:

THE \ Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, | Prince of Denmarke. | By William Shakespeare. | Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie. At LONDON,

Printed by I. R. for N. L. and are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunston's Church in Fleetstreet. 1604” (v. No. 2 of Shakespere Quarto Facsimiles, issued by W. Griggs, under the superintendence of Dr. Furnival).

A comparison of the two texts shows that they are derived from independent sources; neither is a true copy of the author's manuscript; the Quarto edition, though very carelessly printed, is longer than the Folio version, and is essentially more valuable; on the other hand, the Folio version contains a few passages which are not found in the Quarto, and contrasts favourably with it in the less important matter of typographical accuracy (vide Notes, passim).

The two editions represent, in all probability, two distinct acting versions of Shakespeare's perfect text.

Quarto editions appeared in 1605, 1611, circa 16111637, 1637; each is derived from the edition immediately preceding it, the Quarto of 1605 differing from that of 1604 only in the slightest degree.

The First Quarto. The 1604 edition is generally known as the Second Quarto, to distinguish it froni a remarkable production which appeared in the previous year:

The Tragicall Historie of | HAMLET | Prince of Denmarke | By William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diuerse timis acted by his Highnesse ser- | uants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two V- | niuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where | At London printed for N: L. and John Trundell. / 1603.”

No copy of this Quarto was known until 1823, when Sir Henry Bunbury discovered the treasure in a small Quarto, barbarously cropped, and very ill-bound, containing some dozen Shakespearian plays. It ultimately became the property of the Duke of Devonshire for the sum of £230. Unfortunately, the last page of the play was missing

In 1856 another copy was bought from a student of Trinity College, Dublin, by a Dublin book-dealer, for one shilling, and sold by him for £70; it is now in the British Museum. In this copy the title-page is lacking, but it supplies the missing last page of the Devonshire Quarto.*

* In 1858 a lithographed facsimile was issued by the Duke, in a very limited impression. The first serviceable edition, and still perhaps the best, appeared in 1860, together with the Quarto of 1604, being exact Reprints of the First and Second Editions of Shakespeare's great Drama, from the very rare Originals in the possession of his Grace the Duke of Devonshire; with the two texts printed on opposite pages, and so arranged that the parallel passages face each other. And a Bibliographical Preface by Samuel Timinins.

Looke heere vpon this Picture, and on this. Lithographic reprints were also issued by E. W. Ashbee and W. Griggs; the text is reprinted in the Cambridge Shakespeare, etc.

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