Quarto and Folio

Ann Thompson

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Quarto and Folio

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This article, which explores what is going on within the texts and how readers, performers, and editors cope with radical differences between texts, notes that Shakespeare's texts are multiple and complicated. Publishers make apparently conflicting claims in support of the superior authority of the versions they print, and the last twenty or thirty years, have seen a bewildering variety of choices offered to potential purchasers of plays. The discussion considers the publishing of Shakespeare's texts since 1986; folios and quartos; and editing and unediting. Folios are books made out of large sheets of paper folded in half to create two leaves or four pages. Quartos are books made out of the same large sheets of paper as folios, but now folded in half twice to make four leaves or eight pages.

Keywords: Shakespeare's texts; First Folio; quarto; unediting; publishing Shakespeare

Article.  7310 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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