MENU
The tragedie of King Richard the second.
1608

STC 22310, title page

View Image Assets
STC 22310, title page
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: The tragedie of King Richard the second. As it hath been publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruantes. By William Shake-speare.
Date: London : Printed by W[illiam] W[hite] for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, 1608.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22310, title page
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
The tragedie of King Richard the second. As it hath been publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruantes. By William Shake-speare.
Item Date
London : Printed by W[illiam] W[hite] for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, 1608.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22310, title page

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: The tragedie of King Richard the second. As it hath been publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruantes. By William Shake-speare.
Date: London : Printed by W[illiam] W[hite] for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, 1608.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22310, title page
View online bibliographic record

Working with printer William White, Matthew Law published the fourth edition of Richard II in 1608. After publishing three editions of Richard II and eleven editions total of Shakespeare’s plays from 1597 to 1602, Andrew Wise transferred his rights to Richard II and his other Shakespeare plays to Law, another London bookseller, on June 25, 1603.

For the fourth edition’s first issue, Law merely recycled the attributions found on the title page of the previous edition, specifically citing the play’s original performance by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and its authorship by Shakespeare. Later that same year, however, Law reissued the play with a different title page, which advertised additions to the play and a recent performance by the King’s Men at the Globe.

Even though it was not advertised on this title page, the fourth edition was the first edition of the play to feature a longer version of Act IV, scene i, depicting King Richard’s on-stage deposition. This version of the “deposition scene” is a bit shorter than the same scene in the 1623 First Folio.

The “deposition scene” itself has been at the center of much critical debate and speculation. Due to the controversial content of this scene, many scholars have argued that its absence from the first three quartos suggests that the play was originally performed with this scene, but that the play was subsequently censored in print. Another possibility is that the later addition of this scene reflects Shakespeare’s revisions to the play. Since the variant fourth edition’s title page advertises both textual additions and new performance information, later editions of Richard II may have been based on a version Shakespeare adjusted for its revival at the Globe early in the reign of King James I.
   
The copy shown above is one of six listed in the English Short Title Catalogue, and is part of the Folger Shakespeare Library's collection. It was bound by the 19th century firm Riviere and Sons and was later collated by renowned bibliographer F.S. Ferguson at the antiquarian book firm Bernard Quaritch. To learn more about this play and its early printing history, see the Folger’s page on Richard II, and the British Library’s Shakespeare in Quarto, which also includes information about another copy of this edition.
 

Written by Manuel Jacquez

Sources

Charles R. Forker, ed., King Richard II (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2002).

Cyndia Susan Clegg, “‘By the choise and inuitation of al the realme’: Richard II and Elizabethan Press Censorship,” Shakespeare Quarterly 48 (1997), 432-48.

DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks. Ed. Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser. Created 2007. <deep.sas.upenn.edu>.

English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). British Library. <estc.bl.uk>

Folger records

Last updated February 23, 2017