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Eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays were printed during Shakespeare's lifetime, in a small, inexpensive format called a “quarto.” A quarto is a book in which each printed sheet is folded twice—in half, and then in half again—to produce four double-sided leaves, or eight pages. Quartos were sold in flimsy bindings or sometimes no bindings at all, making them vulnerable to damage and loss over the years. The early Shakespeare quartos are now extraordinarily rare; some survive in only a single copy. The texts in the quartos sometimes differ significantly from the same plays in the 1623 First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, which was published seven years after he died.

The first quartos of Shakespeare's plays appeared in 1594 and included Titus Andronicus, and Henry VI Part 2 (as it is now titled). Some plays, such as Richard III and Henry IV Part 1, appeared in multiple quarto editions, showing their popularity. Many of the earliest of the quartos do not include Shakespeare's name but highlight instead the acting company that first performed the play.

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1600
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1600
This is the first edition of Henry IV, Part 2, printed in 1600 by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise and William Aspley, who entered it into the Stationers’ Register on August 23, 1600, along with Much Ado About Nothing.
1600
This is the variant of the first edition of Henry IV, Part 2, printed in 1600 by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise and William Aspley, who entered it into the Stationers’ Register on August 23, 1600, along with Much Ado About Nothing
1600
The first edition of Henry V, shown here, was printed in 1600 by Thomas Creede for Thomas Millington and John Busby.
1600
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1602
The first edition of the rollicking middle-class comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor was published in 1602, after being entered into the Stationers’ Register for John Busby on January 18, 1602 and then immediately transferred by Busby to Arthur Johnson on the
1602
This is the third edition of Richard III, printed in 1602. It is the second of two editions printed by Thomas Creede for Andrew Wise. On June 25, 1603 Wise transferred the rights to the play to Matthew Law.
1602
In 1602, two years after the first edition, the second edition of Henry V, known as Quarto 2, was printed by Thomas Creede for Thomas Pavier.
1603
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1604
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!

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