John Heminge &
Richard Burbage, the greatest actor of his age, died in 1619. After his death, Heminge and Condell assumed the leadership of the King's Men. (see Charles Connell, They Gave Us Shakespeare: John Heminge & Henry Condell). All three had been Shakespeare's closest associates throughout his career. In Shakespeare's will he left them all a remembrance: "I gyve and bequeath...to my ffellowes John Hemynges, Richard Burbage & Heny Cundell XXVIs VIIId A peece to buy them Ringes" (see the National Archive transcript of the will). In time, Heminge and Condell would repay their friend magnificently by conferring upon him the same immortality he spoke of in his sonnets:
They did so by publishing his book.
We owe an incalculable debt to these two sturdy English players. It was they who gathered the dramatic literary remains of their fellow Shakespeare and published them as the First Folio in 1623, seven years after the author's death. Whether they were stimulated by an abortive printing foray on the part of Thomas Pavier and William Jaggard in 1619 to sell a collected edition of ten of Shakespeare's plays bound together (actually, eight authentic plays and two apocryphal, see "On The First Folio," below); or wanted to honor their departed friend by doing a friend's duty, as they aver in their Preface ("It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to have bene wished, that the Author himselfe had liv'd to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings ; But since it hath bin ordain'd otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to have collected & publish'd them..."); or, as hard headed businessmen noticed a golden opportunity for themselves and their company; whatever the motives, we are bound to honor and thank their memories.
What is Known of Heminge (c. 1556 - 1630) was ...
What is Known of Condell (
Whether Heminge or Condell actually contributed to alteration of the text is unknown. Neither is it know whether they acted as supervisors of the printers. On both counts, it is doubted. What is observed in the texts of the folios are the many typographical errors, corrections, adjustments, and, in some cases, improvements made by anonymous print house employees--printers, apprentices, proofreaders--as the text made its way through four successive printings, first in the shop of William and Isaac Jagaard for the 1623 printing of the First Folio; then the shop of Thomas and Richard Cotes for the 1632 Second Folio; the various shops of Daniel, Warren, Hayes or Ratcliffe for the 1663-1664 Third Folio; or xxxxx for the fourth (1685). Of the printing process, Black says,
Nevertheless, Black has praise for the corrections made by the printers of the folios: "All in all,...many of the editors whose names are known and revered contributed less to the establishment of the true text of Shakespeare than did these nameless seventeenth century revisers" (p. 710).
We look briefly at the publication of these various folios below, but it must be admitted that Shakespeare's first true editors, as far as we can trace evidence of the editorial process, are unknown, the functionaries of these various print houses.
Shakespeariana article on Heminge & Condell from the "Editors of Shakespeare" series. (Shakespeariana, Vol. II, 1885, p. 30-33)
John Heminge and Henry Condell, the editors of the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's works, were both actors in the poet's plays, besides being his friends and companions.
Heminge's name is spelled in a variety of ways in old documents— Heminge, Hemminge, Hemynge, Heming, and Hemming. In olden times orthography was delightfully free and untrammeled by custom, and especially was this the case with proper names.
The date of Heminge's birth is not known, nor have many details of his biography been preserved. In 1596, he was one of eight actors who signed a petition to the Privy Council, begging that they might be allowed to repair and enlarge the Blackfriars Theatre. In 1616, Ben Jonson speaks of him as "old master Hemings," in his Masque of Christmas. Ben Jonson was then forty-two years old himself, and Heminge was probably at least twenty years his senior, or he would not have been so spoken of.
In 1599, Heminge and Thomas Pope received, for their company, twenty pounds for three interludes or plays performed before Queen Elizabeth. It has been conjectured that Heminge acted as treasurer for the Lord Chamberlain's company, but this is wholly unsupported by any proof, for celebrated actors often received money from the Court in those days, and the fact of this twenty pounds having been paid to him proves nothing. In subsequent payments to the same company, however, Heminge's name frequently appears. These later payments were in 1600, 1601, 1603, and 1618.
In March, 1615, Heminge and Richard Burbage were summoned before the Lord Chamberlain and charged with having allowed their company to act during Lent.
In 1619 Heminge is supposed to have been at the head of the company of King's Players. He probably left the stage between 1625 and 1629, but he still represented his company, for in 1630 one hundred pounds was paid him by the King, to be given to the actors, " in regard to their great hinderence of late received," in consequence of the plague which raged in that year.
He died in October, 1630, and was buried on the twelfth of that month in St. Mary's churchyard, Aldermanbury. His will is dated the 9th of October, and it is supposed that he died of the plague.
Of Henry Condell's life still less is known than there is concerning his friend and fellow actor, John Heminge. (His name is also spelled Cundall, Cundell, Condle, and Condall.)
Condell was one of the actors who played in Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour, in 1598. He lived in London, in the parish of St. Mary's, Aldermanbury, where Heminge also resided. Like Heminge, also, he owned two shares in the Blackfriars Theatre. In 1603 he acted in Ben Jonson's Sejanus, in his Volpone in 1605, in his Alchemist in 1610, and in Cataline in 1611.
In 1619 James I granted Condell and other actors a confirmation of the patent granted them in 1603, and in 1625 Charles I gave him a new patent.
In 1625 he appears to have quitted London and lived at Fulham. He died in December, 1627, and was buried in the same churchyard as his friend John Heminge—St. Mary's, Aldermanbury.
But it is not by their fame as actors that Heminge and Condell will go down to posterity, but rather owing to the fact that they preserved some of the finest of Shakespeare's plays in the First Folio.
The First Folio edition of Shakespeare, published in 1623, was the first collected edition of the poet's works. It contains all his plays except Pericles. The title-page reads: "Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. London. Printed by Isaac laggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623." It is dedicated to the Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Montgomery, by John Heminge and Henry Condell, who were its editors, if such a term may be applied to their work. In their dedication Heminge and Condell regret that their author did not have "the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings," and state that they "have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his Orphans, Guardians ; without selfe-profit, or fame ; onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, and Fellow aliue, as was our SHAKESPEARE."
An address "To the great Variety of Readers" follows, in which Heminge and Condell say :
Any one reading the above passage would conclude that Heminge and Condell had printed all the plays in the First Folio from Shakespeare's own manuscripts. They further state that all the former separate, or Quarto, editions of the poet were "stolne and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of iniurious imposters." Unfortunately, the facts are often the very reverse of this statement. Several of the plays in the Folio were printed directly from the Quartos that Heminge and Condell abused so much, and in the case of other Quartos their text is superior to that of the Folio, and instead of being "stolne and surreptitious" they must have been printed from manuscripts of higher authority than those used for the Folio.
The statement of Heminge and Condell that they had printed from Shakespeare's manuscript has been doubted by many, who believe, on the contrary, that the plays in the Folio were printed from transcripts from the poet's manuscripts, made for use in the theatres. This would explain many otherwise unaccountable errors that constantly occur in some of the plays in the Folio, for certainly the printers could not have made them if working directly from Shakespeare's own manuscripts, that are described by Heminge and Condell as having scarcely a blot in them.
Their editorial duties probably began and ended with the collection and arrangement of the manuscripts. When they had sent them to the printers they did not have anything more to do with the work, for in those times proof-sheets were not sent to either authors or editors. All the corrections of the press were made by persons employed for that purpose by the printers.
The First Folio has been extravagantly praised by some, and unjustly censured by others. Parts of it are much better than others, but taking it all in all, it is probably worse printed than most books of the time. Verse is printed as prose, and prose as verse. Some words are so jumbled and transposed as to make nonsense. The spelling is very bad, and the punctuation worse.
Still, we must never forget the debt of gratitude we owe to Heminge and Condell. Had it not been for them many of Shakespeare's masterpieces, like Macbeth and Cymbeline, would probably have been lost to the world, for about half of the plays in the First Folio were there published for the first time.
In 1632 the Second Folio was published, but this was after the death of both Heminge and Condell, and there is no reason to warrant the belief that the changes of the text in it were in any way the result of any corrections left by them. Some of the errors of the First Folio were corrected, but an equal number of new ones appeared in that edition.
In 1663 the Third Folio appeared, and the next year (1664) an issue of the same volume with the addition of seven plays; and although all of them were ascribed to Shakespeare, only one is now received as containing any of his work—Pericles. The other six were The London Prodigal; The Life and Death of, Thomas, Lord Cromwell; The History of Sir John Oldcastle, the good Lord Cobham ; The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street; A Yorkshire Tragedy, and The Tragedy of Locrine.
In 1685 the Fourth Folio was published. It contained the seven plays above named, in addition to those in the first folio. Both the Third and Fourth folios contain many errors of their own, but the latter was the most incorrect.
To the great Variety of Readers.
It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to have bene wished, that the Author himselfe had liv'd to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings ; But since it hath bin ordain'd otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to have collected & publish'd them; and so to have publish'd them, as where (before) you were abus'd with diverse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, that expos'd them : even those, are now offer'd to your view cur'd, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceived the'. Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he uttered with that easinesse, that wee have scarse received from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our province, who onely gather his works, and give them you, to praise him. It is yours that reade him. And there we hope, to your divers capacities, you will finde enough, both to draw, and hold you : for his wit can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Reade him, therefore; and againe, and againe : And if then you doe not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him. And so we leave you to other of his Friends, whom if you need, can bee your guides : if you neede them not, you can leade your selves, and others. And such Readers we wish him.
The First Folio, printed near the end of 1623, presents 36 of Shakespeare's plays, and is the first collected edition. The volume, published in late 1623, contains 36 of Shakespeare's plays, 18 of which had never before been printed. Had it not been for these two men, we most likely would never have possessed the texts, and in some cases never have known of the existence, of The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, King John, Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VIII, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, and The Taming of the Shrew, The Winter's Tale. The volume does not contain Pericles1, later accepted into the canon, or The Two Noble Kinsmen or Edward III, which some serious scholars believe should be accepted into the canon2. It does not contain any of the non-dramatic poetry. It's full title is Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, and is, in fact, the first folio sized volume ever printed dedicated exclusively to play texts3. Ben Jonson, in 1616, had printed his Works, including many of his plays, in a folio sized volume, but that volume also contained his poetry. It is thought that the Jonson folio gave impetus to Heminge and Condell to eventually publish a folio of their friend and fellow's plays.
Sixteen of those eighteen previously unprinted plays were entered in the Stationers' Register on November 8, 1623:
Somewhere between 750 and 1,000 copies of the First Folio were printed in late 1623. They sold for £1 each, at a time when "...the annual income of an ordinary clergyman...might have been somewhere between £10 and £20...the cost of the folio was roughly equivalent to the cost of forty-four loaves of bread" (Murphy, Shakespeare in Print, p. 51). In 2001 a copy of the First Folio was sold at auction for over £4,000,000. Such is the value this rare and great book has acquired. Approximately 230 of the original printing have survived, in various states of decomposition (see Anthony James West, The Shakespeare First Folio). The book was so popular that a Second Folio was printed in 1632, a Third in 1663, with a second impression in 1664 that added seven apocryphal plays including Pericles, and a Fourth in 16854. Each subsequent folio was a reprint of the one before (with the exception of the added plays to the second impression of the Third Folio) with only minor textual variations and corruptions. Since the second, third and fourth folios have no independent textual authority, they are essentially ignored by modern editors in favor of the First Folio for purposes of establishing the text of the plays.
Beginning in 1709 the next great phase of Shakespearean textual production began with the collected edition of Nicholas Rowe, followed by his eighteenth century editors Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Warburton, Johnson, Capell, Steevens, Reed, and the great Malone.
Whether Heminge and Condell were responsible for any editing of the manuscripts they provided the printers is not known, but generally doubted. The title page of the book states that it was printed by Isaac Jaggard and Ed. Blount, but in fact it was printed entirely in the shop of William Jaggard and his son Isaac. It is believed the elder Jaggard, William, was blind by about 1612, he died in November 1623 before the First Folio was finished. His son, Isaac, must have been the printer responsible for supervising the volume through the printing process. Blount was one of the publishers, along with Jaggard, John Smethwicke and William Aspley. The colophon appearing on the last printed page of the Folio (the page bears the number "993" but is preceded by a page labeled "398") states, just beneath the elaborate printers device pictured here:
This syndicate of publishers was put together by virtue of their ownership of copyright to various of the plays. These, in fact, were not the only owners of rights to the plays. These publishers must have come to terms with the others, however. In fact, the place of Troylus and Cressida in the volume was dictated by difficulties in coming to agreement with its copyright owner, Henry Walley. For a neat summary of the copyright owners of the plays printed in the First Folio, see Murphy, Shakespeare in Print, p. 44-45.
As indicated above, the pagination of the Folio is irregular. Each of the three sections, Comedies, Histories and Tragedies is paginated separately. Troylus and Cressida is inserted at the head of the Tragedies section and after the last play in the Histories section (ending on p. 232) without regular pagination. The next tragedy, Coriolanus, begins with page 1. Indeed, the print history of Troylus is complex and controversial. It was originally planned to be placed after Romeo and Juliet, when, it is believed, copyright issues arose. Its owner was Henry Walley. It was held out of the First Folio until the last minute when finally the copyright was obtained, but so late that it was hastily inserted without consistent pagination (except for the second and third pages numbered 79 and 80, indicating that it in part had earlier been printed and these pages were salvaged from the earlier printing). There are other notable irregularities.
According to Hinman (Charlton Hinman, The Printing and Proof-Reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare; see also The First Folio of Shakespeare: The Norton Facsimile) printing was begun in 1622, was interrupted for a lengthy time due to other projects in Jaggard's shop, and then completed in November 1623. It is speculated that publication of the so called "Pavier Collection" in 1619 was the motive for Heminge and Condell to go forward with a full printing of Shakespeare's plays. The "Pavier Collection" was an attempt by bookseller Thomas Pavier and printer William Jaggard (the same First Folio Jaggard) to print and sell ten of Shakespeare's plays--actually eight by Shakespeare, Henry V, Henry VI Part 2, Henry VI Part 3 (these two combined as a single play titled The Whole Contention between the Two Famous Houses, Lancaster and York), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, King Lear, Pericles, and two apocryphal plays attributed to Shakespeare, A Yorkshire Tragedy and Sir John Oldcastle--bound together in a single volume. Shakespeare's company apparently stopped the printing. Unfortunately, Pavier and Jaggard didn't actually stop, but were forced underground and surreptitiously printed many of these volumes singly with, in some cases, false early publication dates on their title pages to give the appearance of having been printed at the earlier date. (The Merchant, Oldcastle, and Dream were dated 1600; Lear and Henry V as 1608; The Whole Contention (Henry VI Parts 2 and 3 combined) was printed without date; and the remainder dated 1619). Heminge and Condell, it is thought, decided to act, using the manuscripts they legally possessed, rather than being pre-empted by disreputable publishers.
The exact source documents for the First Folio are, in most cases, unknown. In a few cases (Greg says eleven, to be exact--see W. W. Greg, The Shakespeare First Folio, Its Bibliographical and Textual History) the earlier quartos were used (most obviously in the case of Much Ado About Nothing), but it is thought that the source for most plays were a) Shakespeare's foul papers--an early draft sometimes without stage directions and named characters; b) Shakespeare's fair--or final copy; c) a revised theatre playing copy; or d) the theatre prompt book, which would have been further cut and modified. The possibility exists that it was a combination of these sources, and even others, such as actor's parts (long strips of paper taped end containing a single actor's parts with cues) that were used. Any one of these types of documents might contain interlinear comment and added material as well. Add to this the possible "corrections," misreadings, misrememberings (compositors had to memorize large passages and then set them from memory in order to work efficiently), errors and/or amendments made by the compositors during the printing process and the end product is a multifaceted thing indeed. The issue is so complex that each play needs to be investigated individually, and even then there are issues with textual authenticity that simply cannot be decided. What can be said with confidence is that there can be no confidence that many of the texts in the First Folio reflect Shakespeare's exact words, and that the nature of the theatre of the day militated against there being any such thing as final authorial intent. A finished, printed play reflecting an author's clear textual intention was the invention of a later age. In the case of Shakespeare, there are no surviving autographs, so comparison is impossible even if there had been such a thing as exact authorial intent. The plays were written with performance, not publication in mind, and the quartos published during Shakespeare's lifetime show no authorial care for preparation of the text to be read rather than recited. (See appendix 1 of David Bevington's The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Fifth Edition, for a convenient summary of the textual origin and problems related to each of the plays. For a detailed analysis, consult the third series Arden edition (or second series where the third has not yet been published) for each title).
The Folio was printed using the printer's practice of "casting off." That is, the printer estimated the amount of text needed to fill a page, and then divided the text in sizes to fit the pages of a quire (three large sheets (approximately 13 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches each) taken together and after printing folded in half, making twelve pages--a quarto, by the way, prints four pages on each side of a sheet rather than two). The printer would begin by setting the inner pages of the top sheet, pages six and seven, printing all the pages six and seven of that quire side by side on the same printing form. Then the type used could be redistributed to print pages four and nine, then afterwards two and eleven, and then the pages, when dry, were flipped over and the reverse sides were printed together, five and eight, three and ten, one and twelve. This technique was an advantage because of the size of the presses and the relative scarcity of type. As can be imagined, its success depended on pretty exact estimates of the amount of type needed for an amount of text, and where estimate and need did not match, leading spaces were used to pad a page or text was crowded or verse was printed as prose when pages needed to be compressed. (Actually, printers would also vary the spelling of words to make them shorter or longer, as need might be).
Proofreading was also not performed in a uniform manner. As sheets were printed as described above, a certain number would be printed before they were proofread. When errors were discovered, the type was changed to correct them, more sheets were printed, and more proofreading was done, where other errors might be found and corrected. "Corrections," according to Hinman, were not made by consulting the original text, but rather were corrections of obvious errors or what seemed to the printer to be errors. Older, uncorrected pages were not, however, discarded. They were bound together into volumes along with corrected pages, and the order of correction and binding was not uniform. First, quires (three large sheets folded in half containing pages, 1-12, 13-24, etc.) were gathered, and then the quires were matched with other quires undoubtedly in the order they came to hand, and sewn into the entire volume. The result was a collection of unique pages, quires and volumes, no two being exactly alike. For details on this fascinating process see Edwin Willoughby, The Printing of the First Folio of Shakespeare, John Shroeder, The Great Folio of 1623: Shakespeare's Plays in the Printing House, and, of course, Hinman, cited above.
Notes to On The First Folio
1 Since the publisher of the First Folio, Blount, owned the rights to Pericles, it must not have been included in the volume because there were substantial doubts to its authorship, or the corrupt text of the 1609 and 1611 quartos was considered too inferior. See Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print, pp. 44-46, for a summary of copyright ownership of the plays and Blount's role in the printing of the First Folio. [Return]
2. Nor does it contain Love's Labour's Won, mentioned by Francis Mere's in 1598 in Palladis Tamia, where he praises Shakespeare and lists his plays to that date. LLW is also mentioned in a publisher's day book in 1603, but no copy of it has ever been found. Most often it is speculated that it is one of the known plays extant by 1598 (Much Ado About Nothing, for example), and not a play of independent existence at all. This explanation is most likely. Furthermore, the Folio does not contain Cardenio, a Shakespeare-Fletcher collaboration (as are Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII) which was known to have been performed at court on two occasions in 1613 and was registered in the Stationers' Register by publisher Humphrey Moseley in 1653. Lewis Theobald, Shakespeare's dedicated early 18th century editor and a playwright himself, claimed to have possessed no less than three copies of the manuscript of Cardenio, but no manuscript has survived and Theobald's statements are often doubted. It is difficult to decide whether this could have been true, but most likely not. Theobald claimed to have used Cardenio to create his own Double Falsehood, an abysmal play. [Return]
3. Of course, binding so much text into a single volume required the largest possible format, so the use of folio format is not an unnecessary aggrandizement. [Return]
4. The other apocryphal plays were The London Prodigal; The Life and Death of, Thomas, Lord Cromwell; The History of Sir John Oldcastle, the good Lord Cobham ; The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street; A Yorkshire Tragedy, and The Tragedy of Locrine. [Return]
We have dealt, over the last two posts, with the production of the First Folio, supervised (if that term is proper) by Heminge and Condell. To examine the First Folio in detail is now entirely possible for anyone with an Internet connection. Below I have placed links to as many facsimile editions as I could find.
Printed versions of First Folio facsimile's were produced in 1866, by Howard Staunton, unavailable on the Internet as far as I am aware; in 1876 by the irrepressible J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, linked above; in 1902 by Sir Sidney Lee, also linked above; in 1954 by Helge Kökeritz and Charles Tyler Prouty (the Yale facsimile); and in 1968 by Charlton Hinman, the first Norton Facsimile. The Norton Facsimile is now in its second edition, edited by Peter Blayney.
The Second Folio (1632)
The First Folio was an expensive book. The number of copies printed is unknown, but surely it exceeded 500. Hinman points out that less than 500 would not have been profitable for the publisher. Whatever the number (Hinman also points out a Stationers' Register ordinance of 1587 limited print runs to 1,500 books), it was sold out in nine years, and a second edition was called for. However, by 1632 both Jaggards, father William and son Isaac, were dead; William in 1623 and Isaac in 1627. Isaac's widow transferred his rights to Thomas and Richard Cotes, brothers. Thomas had been a Jaggard apprentice, and together with Richard they took over the Jaggard printing business. The Cotes brothers also obtained the rights to Pavier's plays, via transfer from an inheritor (Pavier died in 1626). They formed a partnership with Robert Allot, who had acquired Blount's rights in the Shakespeare plays, so that on the 1632 edition the printer was identified as Thomas Cotes and the publisher Robert Allot. In fact, the 1632 edition was issued with five varying title pages each identifying a different publisher. Allot is named among the lion's share of copies, but each of the other members of the publishing syndicate are mentioned exclusively on their own title page (see the exhibit on the Second Folio from Meisei University for images of three different title page attributions). This was done, it is believed, in proportion to the print run each "publisher" took to sell in their own establishments. The entire syndicate is mentioned in a colophon to the Second Folio. They were Allot, Smethwick, Aspley (these two continued from the First Folio and still retaining their rights to Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and The Taming of the Shrew in the case of Smethwick; and Much Ado About Nothing and Henry IV Part 2 in the case of Aspley), Richard Hawkins, who had obtained rights to Othello, and Richard Meighen, who by 1632 owned rights to The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The Second Folio is famous for containing a new poem added to the prefatory material. It was young John Milton's first published work:
As late as 1925 Sir Sidney Lee wrote "The second folio was reprinted from the first. A few corrections were made in the text, butmost of the changes were arbitrary and needless and prove the editor's incompetence." This view began changing in the 1930s, with the publication of Mathew Black's "Shakespeare's Seventeenth Century Editors" (JSTOR stable link). Black writes, "The folio of 1632 contains some 1600 attempted improvements, nearly two to a page; that of 1664, 900; that of 1685,700. These alterations range in character from modernizations of the diction to conjectural restorations of Shakespeare's words where the printer had garbled them. About half of all these emendations appear literatim in the standard modern texts, and only a tenth of them can be called really mistaken." While this may be so, it is true that these printer's efforts have no textual authority. Mostly they are regularizations of grammar and spellings, typically "Examples range from changing the old ordinals “fift” and “sixt” to “fifth” and “sixth” and differentiating “to” from “too” and “who” from “whom” to the careful correction of flawed Latin in Love’s Labor’s Lost" (TCU Shakespeare Treasures). Black summarizes, "Thus even a brief review of the work of the editor of the second folio gives the impression-which is greatly strengthened by the evidence in full-that he was a man of considerable parts. At all events, no one can reasonably argue that he did not exist. More than 800 emendations accepted by modern editors do not find their way into a text in a single edition through the irresponsible improvisations of type-setters and proof-readers. That his emendations make a substantial contribution to the standard text of Shakespeare is self-evident" (p. 713). It is also true that many typographical errors are introduced by the Second Folio. Nevertheless, Murphy quotes Allardyce Nicoll as saying, "...whoever was responsible for preparing the text of the Second Folio had certain clear strengths as an editor--not the least of which was a command of languages and a good knowledge of classical mythology...in Love's Labour's Lost 'a whole sentence in Latin, nonsensical and meaningless in the First Folio, has been perfectly corrected, while corrupted Roman and Greek names throughout have been amended'" (Shakespeare in Print, p. 52). It must be said that this, indeed, is the job of an editor, so whoever the nameless print shop employees were who handled this manuscript ought to be considered Shakespeare's true first editors. (See also Black and Shaaber, Shakespeare's Seventeenth-Century Editors, 1632-1685).
The English Civil War and suppression and restoration of the theatres intervened between the printing of the second and third folios. The publisher of the Third Folio was Philip Chetwinde; the printers Roger Daniel, Alice Warren and either John Hayes or Thomas Ratcliffe. Chetwinde gained access to Allot's rights (see The Second Folio, above) by marrying his widow, Mary, in 1637. The individual holding the Cotes (formerly Jaggard) portion of the rights was Ellen Cotes, widow of Richard Cotes whose brother Thomas was also deceased by 1663. There is no formal record of Chetwinde obtaining permission from Cotes to print the Shakespeare plays, but he must have informally gained her permission to such a valuable property. In fact no reference is made to other publishers at all in the Third Folio.
Of the printers' "editing" of the Third Folio, Black says, "The performance of the editor of the third folio was limited by the fact that the editor of the second had been before him. There was less for him to do, except in the matter of correcting new mistakes made by the printers. As a result, there are fewer brilliant emendations in the 1664 volume" (M. W. Black, "Shakespeare's Seventeenth Century Editors," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 76, No. 5. (1936), p. 713). And again, "Aside from correcting a good proportion of the new typographical errors made by the careless printer of the second folio, the 1664 editor shows the first glimmerings of consistency in the spelling of proper names,and he is at considerable pains to substitute current expressions for those which by 1664 sounded archaic or inelegant" (p. 714).
The first printing of the Third Folio occurred in 1663. The following year a second printing appeared with seven plays not previously contained in any Shakespeare Folio: Pericles, Prince of Tyre, The London Prodigal, The History of Thomas homas Lord Cromwell, Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, The Puritan Widow, A Yorkshire Tragedy, and The Tragedy of Locrine. These plays had all formerly been attributed to Shakespeare, for whatever reasons. Only Pericles was ever given permanent sanction among scholars (led by Malone) in the Canon. These plays continued to be printed in the Fourth Folio, and even in Rowe's 1709 edition. They were discontinued in Pope's 1725 edition, made a reappearance in his 1728 second edition, but were banished for good with Theobald's 1733 edition. The Third Folio is generally regarded as poorly proof read, but largely free "from gross typographical errors (see Black and Shaaber, Shakespeare's Seventeenth-Century Editors, 1632-1685). The Third Folio is the rarest of the Folios, many copies having been lost in the great fire of London in 1666.
A facsimile edition of the 1664 Third Folio, including Pericles but sans the apocryphal plays, is available from the Shakespeare Internet Editions at the University of Victoria. More on the Shakespeare Apocrypha, including many other plays than the six mentioned above, can be discovered from:
Though the details of legal title are far from clear, by 1685 the "dominant rights-holder" of the Shakespeare plays was Henry Herringman. His name appears as publisher of the Fourth Folio. As with the Second Folio there were multiple title pages, but Herringman's name appears on all of them. There are three varying title pages, in fact. One states simply "for H. Herringman;" a second "for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley;" and the third, "for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, R. Chiswell, and R. Bentley" (see Murphy, Shakespeare in Print, p. 55).
The Fourth Folio does not reprint the First (as did the second and third) page for page. The volume falls into three separate division, each "...clearly the work of three distinct print shops..." (Murphy, p. 55). Of the Fourth Folio printer/"editor" Black says,
The Fourth Folio also prints the apocryphal plays, following the second impression of the Third Folio.
Some copies of the Fourth Folio vary from the others by having "sixteen-and-a-half sheets in t5he middle section of the book" that do not appear in the other copies. It has been speculated (Giles Dawson, Some Bibliographical Irregularities in the Shakespeare Fourth Folio', Studies in Bibliography, 4, 1951-52, pp. 93-103) that these were printed about the year 1700 when it was discovered that the printer of the middle section of the volume had left them out, and now that the volumes were being assembled, new pages had to be printed to make up full volumes. The newly printed pages are notable for their lack of side and foot rules characteristic of the rest of the volume (and in fact, all the folio volumes). Eric Rasmussen notes a large number of corrections and modernizations in these newly printed pages, indicating yet further tacit editorial work (Eric Rasmussen, 'Anonymity and the Erasure of Shakespeare's First Eighteenth-Century Editor' in Reading Readings, 1998). Consequently, these copies of the Fourth Folio produced around 1700 have been called by some the Fifth Folio. The name has not gained wide popularity.
The only copy of the Fourth Folio to be found on the Internet, as far as I am aware, is available from the Internet Shakespeare Editions and, like its exhibit of the second and third folios, based on a volume held by the State Library of New South Wales. Unfortunately the page showing the imprint and the apocryphal plays are omitted from the web edition.
Bevington, David., The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Fifth Edition, University of Chicago, 2003.
Black, Matthew W., 'Shakespeare's Seventeenth Century Editors', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 76, No. 5. (1936), pp. 707-717. JSTOR stable link.
Black, Matthew W. and Shaaber, M. A., Shakespeare's Seventeenth-Century Editors, 1632-1685), Oxford University Press, 1937.
Brooke, C. F. Tucker, The Shakespeare Apocrypha, Oxford, the Clarendon Press, 1908.
Connell, Charles, They Gave Us Shakespeare: John Heminge & Henry Condell, Oriel Press, 1982.
Dawson, Giles E., 'The Copyright of Shakespeare's Dramatic Works', in C. T. Prouty (ed.) Studies in Honor of A. H. R. Fairchild (University of Missouri Studies, xxi/1), University of Missouri Press, 1946, pp. 58-81.
Dawson, Giles E., 'Some Bibliographical Irregularities in the Shakespeare Fourth Folio', Studies in Bibliography, 4, 1951-52, pp. 93-103.
Greg, Walter Wilson, The Shakespeare First Folio, Its Bibliographical and Textual History, Clarendon Press, 1955.
Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. The works of William Shakespeare, in reduced facsimile from the famous first folio edition of 1623, Funk and Wagnalls, 1887.
Hazlitt, William, The Doubtful Plays of William Shakspeare, Routledge, 1887.
Hinman, Charlton, The Printing and Proof-Reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare, Clarendon Press, 1963.
Hinman, Charlton, The First Folio of Shakespeare: The Norton Facsimile, W. W. Norton, 1968; 2nd edition, Norton, 1996, Peter Blaney, ed.
Kökeritz, Helge, Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, Yale University Press, 1954.
Lee, Sidney, Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, being a Reproduction in Facsimile of the First Folio Edition 1623 from the Chatsworth copy in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, K.G. with an Introduction and Census of Copies by Sidney Lee, Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1902.
Meres, Francis, Palladis Tamia, Scholar's Facsimiles & Reprints, 1598 (2000).
Murphy, Andrew. Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Rasmussen, Eric, 'Anonymity and the Erasure of Shakespeare's First Eighteenth-Century Editor', in Reading Readings: Essays on Shakespeare Editing in the Eighteenth Century, Madison, 1998, pp. 318-322.
Shroeder, John, The Great Folio of 1623: Shakespeare's Plays in the Printing House, Shoe String Press, 1956.
West, Anthony James, The Shakespeare First Folio, Oxford University Press, 2003.
Willoughby, Edwin, The Printing of the First Folio of Shakespeare, Folcroft Library Editions, 1932.