To Be Online, OR Not to Be
That is the Question
And the answer is… Shakespeare is joining the online revolution as fans get a chance to thumb through some of the earliest copies of the Bard’s plays.
BBC reports the British Library is putting online 93 high-resolution digitised copies of 21 of Shakespeare’s plays. The texts date from Shakespeare’s lifetime and are pamphlet editions of plays prepared to be sold after performances had finished. The printed works show how the text evolved and cast doubt on the idea of definitive versions of his plays.
As such the editions were prepared during Shakespeare’s life and they are likely to be more authentic versions of the plays than the First Folio editions that were published seven years after the Bard’s death in 1616.
The texts of the plays are thought to be the closest versions to the way that the plays were actually written and performed.
“Given that Shakespeare left no manuscripts behind, the quartos are as close as we are able to get to what he actually wrote,” said Ms Goff. “They take us behind the First Folio and different quarto versions of the plays provide clues to Shakespeare’s own revisions of his works.”
The quarto editions are thought to be Shakespeare’s working drafts, copies for rehearsals or records of versions remembered by actors.