Arden Shakespeare

The Arden Shakespeare is a long-running series of scholarly editions of the works of William Shakespeare. It presents fully edited modern-spelling editions of the plays and poems, with lengthy introductions and full commentaries. There have been three distinct series of the Arden Shakespeare over the past century, with the third series expected to be completed in 2020.[1] Arden was the maiden name of Shakespeare's mother, Mary, but the primary reference of the enterprise's title is named after the Forest of Arden, in which Shakespeare's As You Like It is set.[2]

First Series

The first series was published by Methuen. Its first publication was Edward Dowden's edition of Hamlet, published in 1899.[3] Over the next 25 years, the entire canon of Shakespeare was edited and published. The original editor of the Arden Shakespeare was William James Craig (1899–1906), succeeded by R. H. Case (1909–1944).[4] The text of the Arden Shakespeare, First series, was based on the 1864 "Globe" or Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, edited by William George Clark and John Glover,[5] as revised in 1891–93.[6]

The list of the first series is as follows:[7]

EditorTitleYear of publication
Edward DowdenHamlet1899
Edward DowdenRomeo and Juliet1900
W. J. CraigKing Lear1901
Michael MacmillanJulius Caesar1902
Morton LuceThe Tempest1902
Edward DowdenCymbeline1903
H. C. HartOthello1903
Herbert Arthur EvansHenry V1904
W. Osbourne BrigstokeAll's Well That Ends Well 1904
H. C. HartLove's Labour's Lost1904
H. C. HartThe Merry Wives of Windsor1904
H. Bellyse BalldonTitus Andronicus1904
Henry CuninghamA Midsummer Night's Dream1905
H. C. HartMeasure for Measure1905
K. DeightonTimon of Athens1905
R. Warwick BondThe Taming of the Shrew1905
Charles Knox PoolerThe Merchant of Venice1905
R. Warwick BondTwo Gentlemen of Verona1906
Morton LuceTwelfth Night1906
K. DeightonTroilus and Cressida1906
R. H. CaseAntony and Cleopatra1906
K. DeightonPericles1907
Ivor B. JohnKing John1907
Henry CuninghamThe Comedy of Errors1907
A. Hamilton ThompsonRichard III1907
H. C. Hart1 Henry VI1909
H. C. Hart2 Henry VI1909
H. C. Hart3 Henry VI1910
Charles Knox PoolerPoems1911
Henry CuninghamMacbeth1912
Ivor B. JohnRichard II1912
F. W. MoormanThe Winter's Tale1912
J. W. HolmeAs You Like It1914
R. P. Cowl, A. E. Morgan1 Henry IV1914
Charles Knox PoolerHenry VIII1915
Charles Knox PoolerSonnets1918
W. J. CraigCoriolanus1922
R. P. Cowl2 Henry IV1923
Grace R. TreneryMuch Ado About Nothing1924

Second Series

The second series began in 1946, with a new group of editors freshly re-editing the plays, and was completed in the 1980s. It was published by Methuen in both hardback and paperback. Later issues of the paperbacks featured cover art by the Brotherhood of Ruralists. The Second Series was edited by Una Ellis-Fermor (1946–58); Harold F. Brooks (1952–82), Harold Jenkins (1958–82) and Brian Morris (1975–82).[8] Unlike the First Series, where each volume was based on the same textual source (The Globe Shakespeare), the individual editors of each volume of the Second Series were responsible for editing the text of the play in that edition.[9]

Editions in the second series
Kenneth MuirMacbeth1951
Richard DavidLove's Labour's Lost1951
Kenneth MuirKing Lear1952
J.C. MaxwellTitus Andronicus1953
Frank KermodeThe Tempest1954Reprinted with revisions in 1957.
M. R. RidleyAntony and Cleopatra1954The introduction by Case from the First Series was reprinted.
J.H. WalterHenry V1954
E. A. J. HonigmannKing John1954
John Russell BrownThe Merchant of Venice 1955
T. S. DorschJulius Caesar1955
J. M. NosworthyCymbeline1955
Peter UreRichard II1956
Andrew S. Cairncross 2 Henry VI1957
R. A. FoakesHenry VIII1957
H. J. OliverTimon of Athens1959
M.R. RidleyOthello1959
G. K. HunterAll's Well that Ends Well1959
A. R. Humphreys1 Henry IV1960
F. T. PrinceThe Poems1960Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece
Andrew S. Cairncross1 Henry VI1962
R. A. FoakesComedy of Errors1962
F. D. HoenigerPericles1963
J. H. P. PaffordThe Winter's Tale1963
Andrew S. Cairncross3 Henry VI1964
J. W. LeverMeasure for Measure1964Most up-to-date version available as of October 2019.
A. R. Humphreys2 Henry IV1966
Clifford LeechTwo Gentlemen of Verona1969
H. J. OliverThe Merry Wives of Windsor1971
Agnes LathamAs You Like It1975
J. M. Lothian and Thomas W. CraikTwelfth Night1975
Philip BrockbankCoriolanus1976
Harold F. BrooksA Midsummer Night's Dream1979
Brian GibbonsRomeo and Juliet1980
A. R. HumphreysMuch Ado About Nothing1981
Anthony HammondRichard III1981
Brian MorrisThe Taming of the Shrew1981
K. J. PalmerTroilus and Cressida1982
Harold JenkinsHamlet1982

Third Series

The third series of the Arden Shakespeare began to be edited during the 1980s, with publication starting in the 1990s.

The first editions in this series were published by Routledge, before moving to Thomson. They then moved to Cengage Learning. In December 2008, the series returned to Methuen, becoming part of Methuen Drama, its original publisher. From February 2013, the titles have appeared under the Bloomsbury imprint.[10]

The editions in the third series are published very much in line with the traditions established by the Arden Shakespeare; however, editions in this series tend to be much thicker than those of the first and second series, with more explanatory notes and much longer introductions. One unusual aspect of this series is its edition of Hamlet, which presents the play in two separate volumes. The first, released in 2006, contains an edited text of the Second Quarto (1604–05), with passages found only in the First Folio included in an appendix,[11] while the supplementary second volume, released a year later, contains both the text of the First Quarto (sometimes called the "bad" quarto) of 1603, and of the First Folio of (1623).[12]

The general editors for this series are Richard Proudfoot; Ann Thompson of King's College London; David Scott Kastan of Yale University; and H. R. Woudhuysen of the University of Oxford.

As of October 2019, the edition of one canonical play remains to be published: Measure for Measure, edited by A. R. Braunmuller.


What follows is a list of editions published in the third series thus far as of October 2019. Editions that have been revised are marked with the year of revised publication in the 'Year' column.

Editions in the third series
Title Year Editor Notes
King Henry V1995
  • T. W. Craik
Antony and Cleopatra1995
  • John Wilders
Titus Andronicus1995 (r. 2018)
  • Jonathan Bate
Othello1996 (r. 2016)
  • E. A. J. Honigmann
The Two Noble Kinsmen1996 (r. 2015)
  • Lois Potter
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.
King Lear1997
  • R. A. Foakes
Contrary to the editors' decision to publish the three versions of Hamlet as three separate texts, Foakes' edition of King Lear is based upon a conflation of the quarto and folio texts of the tragedy, disregarding the practice established by the Oxford Shakespeare of treating them as two separate texts.
Shakespeare's Sonnets1997 (r. 2010)
  • Katherine Duncan-Jones
Contains every poetic work included in the original Shakespeare's Sonnets quarto of 1609—that is, 154 sonnets, plus the narrative poem A Lover's Complaint (a work the authorship of which is often disputed).
Troilus and Cressida1998 (r. 2015)
  • David Bevington
Love's Labour's Lost1998
  • H. R. Woudhuysen
Julius Caesar1998
  • David Daniell
King Henry VI Part 21999
  • Ronald Knowles
The Merry Wives of Windsor1999
  • Giorgio Melchiori
The Tempest1999 (r. 2011)
  • Virginia Mason Vaughan
  • Alden T. Vaughan
King Henry VI Part 12000
  • Edward Burns
King Henry VIII2000
  • Gordon McMullan
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.
King Henry VI Part 32001
  • John D. Cox
  • Eric Rasmussen
King Richard II2002
  • Charles R. Forker
King Henry IV Part 12002
  • David Scott Kastan
The Two Gentlemen of Verona2004
  • William C. Carroll
Pericles, Prince of Tyre2004
  • Suzanne Gossett
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and George Wilkins on the title page.
Much Ado About Nothing2005 (r. 2016)
  • Claire McEachern
Hamlet2006 (r. 2016)
  • Ann Thompson
  • Neil Taylor
Contains the Q2 (1604) text.
Hamlet: The Texts of 1603 and 16232007
  • Ann Thompson
  • Neil Taylor
Contains the Q1 (1603) and FF (1623) text. A supplementary volume to the main edition (above) based on Q2 (1604).
As You Like It2006
  • Juliet Dusinberre
Shakespeare's Poems2007
  • Katherine Duncan-Jones
  • H. R. Woudhuysen
Contains Shakespeare's two major narrative poems—Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece—as well as his metaphysical poem The Phoenix and the Turtle, plus several shorter works attributed to Shakespeare.
Twelfth Night2008
  • Keir Elam
Timon of Athens2008
  • Anthony B. Dawson
  • Gretchen E. Minton
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton on the title page.
King Richard III2009
  • James R. Siemon
The Taming of the Shrew2010
  • Barbara Hodgdon
The Winter's Tale2010
  • John Pitcher
The Merchant of Venice2011
  • John Drakakis
Romeo and Juliet2012
  • René Weis
  • Peter Holland
  • Sandra Clark
  • Pamela Mason
King Henry IV Part 22016
  • James C. Bulman
The Comedy of Errors2016
  • Kent Cartwright
  • Valerie Wayne
A Midsummer Night's Dream2017
  • Sukanta Chaudhuri
King John2018
  • Jesse M. Lander
  • J. J. M. Tobin
All's Well That Ends Well2018
  • Helen Wilcox
  • Suzanne Gossett
Measure for MeasureJan 2020 (announced) [13]
  • A. R. Braunmuller
  • Robert N. Watson


The third series is also notable for publishing single-volume editions of certain plays which traditionally form part of the so-called Shakespeare Apocrypha, but for which there is considered good evidence of Shakespeare having at least been part author. Three apocryphal plays have so far been published in this manner.

Revised editions

Due to the long period of time over which the series has been published, many of the editions listed above have been (or are planned to be) re-issued in revised editions, The first—Shakespeare's Sonnets—was published in 2010, fifteen years after the series began. Eight editions have been reissued in revised form.

Fourth Series

In March 2015, Bloomsbury Academic named Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, Zachary Lesser of the University of Pennsylvania, and Tiffany Stern of the Shakespeare Institute as general editors of the Arden Shakespeare Fourth Series.[15]

Arden Early Modern Drama

In 2009, the Arden Shakespeare launched a companion series, entitled "Arden Early Modern Drama". The series follows the formatting and scholarly style of the Arden Shakespeare Third Series, but shifts the focus onto less well-known English Renaissance playwrights, primarily the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods (although the plays Everyman and Mankind hail from the reign of King Henry VII).

The general editors for this series are Suzanne Gossett of Loyola University Chicago; John Jowett of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; and Gordon McMullan of King's College London.

Complete Works

Arden Shakespeare has also published a Complete Works of Shakespeare, which reprints editions from the second and third series but without the explanatory notes.

Arden Performance Editions

In 2017, the Arden Shakespeare launched a new series of Performance Editions of Shakespeare's major plays, aimed specifically for use by actors and directors in the rehearsal room, and drama students in the classroom. Each edition features facing-page notes, short definitions of words, guidance on metre and punctuation, large font for easy reading, and plenty of blank space to write notes. The Series Editors are Professor Michael Dobson and Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall and leading Shakespearean actor, Simon Russell Beale. The series is published in association with the Shakespeare Institute.

Critical literature

The Arden Shakespeare has also published a number of series of literary and historical criticism to accompany the Arden Shakespeare Third Series and Arden Early Modern Drama imprints.


  1. The edition adopts the belief that the play is the only surviving version of Shakespeare and Fletcher's lost tragicomedy Cardenio, revised by Lewis Theobald for eighteenth century audiences.
  2. This edition identifies Shakespeare as one reviser of a play originally written by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, the other revisers supposedly being Chettle, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood, and the unidentified "Hand C".
  3. Owing to the 2011 death of E. A. J. Honigmann, the original editor, the revision of this edition has been undertaken by Ayanna Thompson. This is the only instance in the series (so far) where the revising editor has been different to the original editor.


  1. Bloomsbury Publishing Website, accessed October 12, 2019
  2. Juliet Dusinberre, introduction to "As You Like It", Arden Shakespeare, Third Edition
  3. General Editors' Preference, The Tempest, Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series, 1999
  4. Copyright page, "The Tempest", edited by Frank Kermode, Arden 2nd Series, 1954
  5. General Preface, King Lear, The Arden Shakespeare, copyrighted 1917
  6. General Editor's Preface by Una Ellis-Fermor, dated 1951, as printed in Macbeth, Arden Shakespeare, 2nd Series
  7. The works of Shakespeare: London, Methuen [1899–1930]. Stanford University Library. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  8. Copyright page, "Macbeth", edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden 2nd Series, printed 1994
  9. GenPref2
  10. See "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
  11. Preface, "Hamlet", Arden 3rd Series
  12. "Hamlet, the Texts of 1603 and 1623", Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series.
  13. Bloomsbury Publishing Website, accessed October 12, 2019
  14. Bloomsbury Publishing Website, accessed April 6, 2017.
  15. Deliyannides, Andrew. "Peter Holland Named General Editor of The Arden Shakespeare", University of Notre Dame, 3 March 2015.
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