Front cover image for The works of Mr. William Shakespear

The works of Mr. William Shakespear

In 1807 the first of the major editions of Shakespeare's works was published by Jacob Tonsen, edited by the dramatist Nicholas Rowe. This volume again presents that text and also includes Shakespeare's poems, edited by Gildon in 1710.
Print Book, English, 1998
Pickering & Chatto, London, 1998
7 volumes
9781851963980, 1851963987
The Plays Rowe worked hard on the edition, recognising that the text needed some serious attention. As he said in his preface: 'I have taken some Care to redeem him [Shakespeare] from the Injuries of former Impressions. I must not pretend to have return'd this Work to the Exactness of the Author's Original Manuscripts: Those are lost, or, at least, are gone beyond any Inquiry I could make; so that there was nothing left, but to compare the several Editions, and give the true Reading as well as I could from thence.' The Poems Tonson had in 1707 bought the copyright to Shakespeare's plays but not to the poems. In 1710 a rival publisher, Edmund Curll, published an additional volume, designed to look like the six volumes of Rowe's edition and titled 'Volume the Seventh'. Charles Gildon edited the poems but he also provided a glossary of obscure words, an essay on the history of drama, a commentary on the plays and numerous other features that Rowe had, in his view, failed to provide. Gildon's work is a vital addition to Rowe's edition, completing the presentation of the text with the poems but also adding to Rowe's way of making the plays available and understandable.
Originally published: London : J. Tonson, 1709 in 6 v. With additional volume originally published as: Volume the seventh, edited by Charles Gildon. London : E. Curll, 1710