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January 18, 1602
The Merry Wives of Windsor was entered twice into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on January 18, 1602, shown above. John Busby, who made the first entry for that day, printed no known copies, and had never registered the title previously.
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
The Revels Book of 1604–5 shows William Shakespeare at or near the height of his success as a playwright, with seven plays and eight performances at court. Merchant of Venice was so admired by the king that he commanded a repeat performance.
The poet and courtier Sir John Harington left behind tantalizing lists of plays written by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Heywood, and others. Around 1609 he compiled two lists of play quartos almost certainly in his personal collection.
Published in 1619, this second edition of The Merry Wives of Windsor was part of the collection of Shakespeare’s plays commonly known as the Pavier Quartos. The publisher, Arthur Johnson, also published the first edition in 1602.