Project Shakespeare: The RSC William Shakespeare Complete Works

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For this project I figured I would need plenty of notes to understand the text from a reliable source. To keep costs down I looked at buying a complete works. Two editions were available: one produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Norton Shakespeare. Since there were no previews for either edition, I went by popularity. The former won the battle for my cash.

I’m very pleased with my choice thus far. Notes on the texts appear on every page in the footnotes. There’s an introduction before every play, and after there are notes on the sources of inspiration, how many versions there are of the text, some statistics on the characters, and what proportions are prose and verse.

I’ll update this page when I’ve read more.

For those who might be interested, I’ve transcribed the contents page below.

The RSC William Shakespeare Complete Works


Preface 6

General Introduction by Jonathan Bate 8
Shakespeare our Perennial Contemporary 8
Shakespeare’s Debut: The ‘Upstart Crow’ 13
The Back Story: Shakespeare of Stratford 18
The Playhouses 23
Plague and Poetry 25
The Lord Chamberlain’s Man 27
The Ensemble at Work 30
‘Dangerous Matter’: Politics and Religion 35
The King’s Man 38
The Great Feast of Languages 42
Cult and Heresy 45
The First Folio Restored 50

User’s Guide 58

Preliminary Pages of the First Folio 60

Foreword by Michael Boyd, Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company 64


William Shakespeare: Complete Works
with Introductions and ‘Key Facts’ by Jonathan Bate

The Tempest 1
The Two Gentlemen of Verona 52
The Merry Wives of Windsor 102
Measure for Measure 155
The Comedy of Errors 215
Much Ado About Nothing 255
Love’s Labour Lost 305
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 365
The Merchant of Venice 413
As You Like It 472
The Taming of the Shrew 526
All’s Well that Ends Well 584
Twelfth Night, or What You Will 645
The Winter’s Tale 698

The Life and Death of King John 768
The Life and Death of King Richard the Second 829
The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry surnamed Hotspur 892
The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, containing his Death and the Coronation of King Henry the Fifth 963
The Life of Henry the Fifth 1026
The First Part of Henry the Sixth 1098
The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, with the Death of the Good Duke Humphrey 1168
The Third Part of Henry the Sixth, with the Death of the Duke of York 1236
The Tragedy of Richard the Third, with the Landing Earl Richmond and the Battle of Bosworth Field 1299
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth 1382

The Tragedy of Troilus and Cressida 1456
The Tragedy of Coriolanus 1536
The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus 1616
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet 1675
The Life of Timon of Athens 1744
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar 1801
The Tragedy of Macbeth 1859
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 1918
The Tragedy King Lear 2004
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice 2081
The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra 2158
The Tragedy of Cymbeline 2240

Plays not in the First Folio
Pericles, Prince of Tyre, by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins 2323
The Two Noble Kinsmen, by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher 2356

Poems and Sonnets
Venus and Adonis 2398
The Rape of Lucrece 2412
‘To the Queen’ 2439
‘Let the Bird of Loudest Lay’ (also known as ‘The Phoenix and Turtle’) 2433
Shakespeare’s Sonnets 2435

A Scene for Sir Thomas More 2464
(introduction, transcription and modernized text by Eric Rasmussen)

Shakespeare’s Works: A Conjectural Chronology 2471
The Houses of Lancaster and York: A Genealogy 2476
Kings and Queens of England: From the History Plays to Shakespeare’s Lifetime 2478
The History Behind the Histories: A Chronology 2479
The History Behind the Tragedies: A Chronology 2482

Acknowledgements and Picture Credits 2483-5
Alphabetical Index of Plays and Poems 2486


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