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Folios and Quartos (Shakespeare)

Folios and Quartos: Shakespeare's earliest published plays are referred to as folios or quartos according to the folding of the printed sheets and therefore the size of the book: folios being large, tall volumes and the quartos smaller and squarer. During his lifetime 18 of Shakespeare's plays were published in quartos: Othello appeared in 1622. Over half of these quartos are 'bad' ones. Their texts are extremely corrupt as a result of their reconstruction from memory by a member, or members, of their cast.

First Folio (1623): Thirty six plays, eighteen printed for the first time, were arranged by Heming and Condell (fellow actors of Shakespeare) into sections of comedies, histories and tragedies.



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