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The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet
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  • Page extent: 210 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.487 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 822.3/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR2831.A2 E76 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616.--Romeo and Juliet
    • Romeo (Fictitious character)--Drama
    • Juliet (Fictitious character)--Drama
    • Conflict of generations--Drama
    • Verona (Italy)--Drama

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521821216)

Two different versions of Romeo and Juliet were published during Shakespeare's lifetime: the second quarto of 1599, on which modern editions are usually based, and the first quarto of 1597. The latter version was long denigrated as a 'bad' quarto', but recent scholarship sees in it a crucial witness for the theatrical practices of Shakespeare and his company. The shorter of the two versions by about one quarter, the first quarto has high-paced action, fuller stage directions than the second quarto, and fascinating alternatives to the famous speeches in the longer version. The introduction to this edition provides a full discussion of the origins of the first quarto, before analysing its distinguishing features and presenting a concise history of the 1597 version. The text is provided with a full collation and commentary which alert the reader to crucial differences between the first and the second quartos.

• Includes a detailed introduction with discussion of the first quarto's origins, history and distinctive features • Full edition of the first quarto of Romeo and Juliet • Throws light on the importance of this long-neglected early version of Shakespeare's famous play


Preface; Abbreviations and conventions; Introduction: 1. Textual provenance: a century of 'bad quartos'; Past thinking about Q1 Romeo and Juliet; The early draft / revision theory; Memorial reporters?; Stage abridgement, not memorial reconstruction?; Evidence of memorial agency; Alternatives to the traditional narrative; A version for the provinces?; Theatrical abridgement; Textual provenance: conclusion; 2. Dramatic specificities: Pace and action; Stage directions; The betrothal scene; Characterization; Inconsistent time references; 3. Publication and printing: The First Quarto in 1597; The First Quarto after 1597; Note on the text; List of characters; THE PLAY; Textual notes; Appendix A. Scene division; Appendix B. Casting and doubling; Appendix C. Bel-védere (1600); Appendix D. Q1 in eighteenth-century editions of Romeo and Juliet; Bibliography.


Review of the hardback: 'Readers who finished Shakespeare as a Literary Dramatist with the question 'now what?', puzzling what to do with a book whose fascinating implications would seem to return us to an older, author-centered mode of literary criticism, will be singularly impressed at how much Erne's Q1 Romeo and Juliet achieves toward seeing an old play with new eyes. … I take up Erne's edition of Romeo and Juliet as an exemplary attempt to move Shakespearean editorial theory beyond the problematising and iconoclazm that dominated the past two decades' repudiation of the New Bibliography. Erne leads us to reconsider the coherence of Q1 Romeo and Juliet as a play distinct from the one traditionally presented in modern editions.' Archiv

Review of the hardback: 'This is an excellent edition of a wonderful play. Lukas Erne's annotations celebrate Q1 for what it is, rather than simply as an interesting adjunct to the received text. The challenging introduction, careful collations, insightful notes, and useful appendices open up the play to the wider audience it deserves …' Comparative Drama

Review of the hardback: 'Erne, whose book of 2003 (in the words of its title) repositioned Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist, has here valuably emphasized again the contrasting evidence for this and other plays' equal connection to the dramatic and theatrical …' The Library

Review of the hardback: 'Erne offers a clear textual introduction, detailed commentary and helpful appendices … Erne's edition is a worthy contribution to a fine series …' The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: 'The introduction does a masterful job of presenting all the theories and, without too obviously taking a side, puts the reader in possession of the relevant facts …' Notes and Queries

Review of the hardback: 'His scrupulously annotated edition makes the full text of Q1 available for a general readership that can now readily compare the different versions of the play, and it provides excellent classroom material, for example, for in-depth courses on the Shakespearean text or on the first stagings of Shakespeare's plays.' English Studies

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