Synopses & Reviews
The Applause First Folio Editions compare the differences between the first printings and the best modern texts of Shakespeare's works, with special emphasis on issues relevant to each particular play. Footnotes discuss many of the Quarto and modern text variations. Glosses highlight scholarship of the last four centuries. New easy coding system guides readers directly to single topics far more swiftly and efficiently than comparable attempts in modern editions. New visual clues allow readers to explore First Folio line structures as well as the modern text alterations. Opposite each page of text is a blank page for reader notes and comments. Over one hundred professional and conservatory productions have already used Neil Freeman's scripts in early manuscript proof editions. Now, for the first time, Applause makes these invaluable texts available to actors, readers, and scholars around the world.
The First Folio of 1623 was prepared for print by two members of Shakespeare's acting troupe -- John Hemings and Henry Condell -- which included comic actor Will Kemp and the great tragedian Richard Burbage. In a fascinating and detailed introduction, Freeman points out that because Shakespeare and his colleagues wrote from a rhetorical tradition -- a society where the emphasis was on the spoken word -- he wrote with an eye to how he wanted his plays performed, giving as much direction as possible to his actors. Freeman looks at what is known of the printing of that First Folio and analyzes the variations between the First Folio, later Folios, Quarto editions (where available) and modern editions of the plays. He examines the "corrections" made by editors over the centuries that have shaped the way we perceive Shakespeare today -- from the regularization of verse, to the changes from prose to verse (and vice versa) and the standardization of character prefixes.