All scholarship on Julius Caesar

is rooted in these earliest editions. The play is allegedly easy to edit because it is of the “one text” variety: i.e., the First Folio is the only legitimate copy on which to base subsequent versions, unlike the cases of Hamlet or Lear. However, the other three folios and the later, Restoration-era quartos provide interesting readings that cannot be ignored. Julius Caesar also exists in late seventeenth-century manuscript versions held at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Douai Public Library that suggest how early companies may have performed it.

The earliest known biography of Shakespeare dates from this period, John Aubrey’s “Life of Mr. William Shakespear” (c. 1690), anecdotal and entertaining.

Here is a link to the Editions page (1623-1919).

Here is a link to the Shakespeariana page.

The First Four Folios

First Folio 1623

Second Folio 1632

Third Folio 1663-4

Fourth Folio 1685

The Quartos

Quarto 1684

Quarto 1691

“Restoration Quarto” c.1695 (QU1)

John W. Velz on the “Restoration Quartos”

G. B. Evans on the Folger Ms. (c.1665)

G. B. Evans on the Douai Ms. (c. 1685)

Matters Theatrical

Killgrew and Davenant were exclusively licensed to operate the King’s and Duke’s playing companies and theatres, respectively, at the Restoration. Recent scholarship theorizes that there were three early revivals of Julius Caesar. See Arthur Scouten on these performances. Thomas Rymer’s A Short View of Tragedy (1693) provides a somewhat singular contemporary opinion on how he thought audiences of his time should perceive plays such as ours—he was not a champion of Shakespeare..