MENU
The most excellent and lamentable tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet.
1599

STC 22323 copy 2, title page

View Image Assets
STC 22323 copy 2, 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 most excellent and lamentable tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: as it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants.
Date: London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange, 1599.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22323 copy 2, title page
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
The most excellent and lamentable tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: as it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants.
Item Date
London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange, 1599.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22323 copy 2, 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 most excellent and lamentable tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: as it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants.
Date: London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange, 1599.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22323 copy 2, title page
View online bibliographic record

 

Customers browsing in the bookshops of London in 1599 would have found a new version of a popular play based on the well-known story of Romeo and Juliet. Whereas the first quarto of 1597 was advertised as “AN EXCELLENT conceited Tragedie,” the play’s second edition was now branded as “THE MOST Excellent and lamentable Tragedie.” More importantly, the second quarto was distinguished from its predecessor with the claim that it was “Newly corrected, augmented, and amended.” This declaration of textual superiority was indeed warranted: the second quarto is approximately one-fifth longer than the first, and more than 800 lines possess significant variations from the previous text.

The second quarto was printed by Thomas Creede, a stationer with significant experience producing playbooks, and was published by Cuthbert Burby, who had published an edition of Love's Labor's Lost the previous year (which likewise had been advertised as “Newly corrected and augmented”). The textual differences, combined with the change in publisher from the first edition – which had been produced the by the oft-maligned John Danter– once certified the status of the second as a “good” quarto, as opposed to the supposedly “bad” first. However, scholars no longer consider such distinctions to be tenable, and indeed, the second quarto even reprints a passage of some eighty lines directly from the first.

The second quarto may have been the result of some effort on the part of Shakespeare or his theater company to release an authorized text, but this is not necessarily the case. Cuthbert Burby may simply have wanted to capitalize on a popular and profitable commodity; after all, The Passionate Pilgrim and John Weever’s sonnet in praise of Shakespeare, both of which reference Romeo and Juliet, appeared in the same year. Romeo and Juliet remained popular and profitable for years to come, and subsequent editions reprinted this edition’s text.

The copy shown above is held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and is one of eleven known to exist according to the English Short Title Catalogue.

 

 

Written by Adam G. Hooks

Sources
Hooks, Adam G. Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Levenson, Jill L., ed. Romeo and Juliet. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Last updated July 4, 2017