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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.

All Documents

1619
The fourth edition of Pericles was published by Thomas Pavier and printed by William Jaggard in 1619. Pavier and Jaggard printed ten plays by or attributed to Shakespeare, now known to scholars as the Pavier quartos.
1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
Printed as 1600, i.e. 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
Printed as 1608, i.e. 1619
William Jaggard printed the third edition of Henry V, one of the infamous Pavier Quartos, for Thomas Pavier in 1619, though the title page says 1608. In 1619, Pavier and Jaggard published a set of ten works, either by Shakespeare or attributed to him.
Printed as 1608, i.e. 1619
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1622
This the fourth edition of Romeo and Juliet. It was printed sometime around 1622 by John Windet for John Smethwicke.
Autumn 1622
The principal book fair in Western Europe was held biannually in Frankfurt, Germany. While most books offered at the fair were in Latin, by 1618-1619 booksellers advertised books in English in printed catalogs.
1622
The sixth edition of Henry IV Part 1 was one of three Shakespearean playbooks printed in 1622, the year before the first edition of his collected plays, Mr William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, also known as “the First Folio,” was published.
1622
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
1622
This is the first edition of Othello, printed in 1622, around eighteen years after it was first written and performed. It was entered into the Stationers’ Company Register on October 6, 1621 by Thomas Walkley, who then had it printed by Nicholas Okes.

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