How to Read a Shakespearean Play Text

Look inside the book


WOOCS 2.1.9


Eugene Giddens

This is an invaluable introductory guide for the English student who needs to decipher a page from a play, or a facsimile equivalent, from the Shakespearean period. The original quartos and folios of early play texts are increasingly subject to editorial and critical scrutiny, and electronic facsimiles are making the originals accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. Giddens provides a practical ‘how to’ guide to the original printed texts of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He explains how the features of the play text came about, what the different elements mean, and who created them. The book provides that important first step towards bibliography and critical editing, presenting a detailed account of how to read these early texts and how they have been turned into the modern editions we are accustomed to.

  • Breaks down the component parts of the Shakespearean page, allowing readers to engage with the more obscure or ‘lost’ parts of play texts as part of their critical readings
  • Contains many informative illustrations which help to illuminate the discussion and aid understanding
  • Describes for the student how the early modern text turned into the modern edition we are accustomed to

1. The creation and circulation of play texts
2. The features of play texts
3. Reading the originals
4. Reading modern editions

Additional information




Cambridge University Press

Publication date

February 2011