The Enlightenment

provided the explosive expansion in Shakespeare studies, with over twenty different collections of the plays, from our first named editor, Nicholas Rowe, to the two final major efforts, the 1793 Variorum overseen by George Steevens and Joseph Rann’s 1794 edition.

The writing of commentaries helped create and sustain competition, rancor, and rivalries among editors, which involved Alexander Pope, Lewis Theobald, Thomas Hamner, William Warburton, and Dr. Johnson, among others.

The eighteenth century also gave us the first concordances, glossaries, and books of emendations and conjectures, some of these latter texts designed to undermine the editions on which they purported to comment. We have tried to group these together as best we can.

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

Here is a link to the Shakespeariana page.

Nicholas Rowe

Rowe 1 1709, v.5

Rowe 2 1709 [i.e. 1710], v.5

Rowe 3 1714, v.6

Rowe, Some Account of the Life, &c., of Mr. William Shakepear (1709) [first sustained biography]

Thomas Johnson, Alexander Pope, Lewis Theobald, William Walker, Thomas Hanmer, William Warburton, Hugh Blair

Thomas Johnson 1711

Pope 1 1725, v.5

Theobald, Shakespeare Restored (1726)

Pope 2 1728, v.6

Theobald 1, 1733, v.5

Walker 1734, v.1

Theobald 2, 1740, v.7

Hanmer 1 1744, v.5

Hanmer 2 1745, v.5

Warburton 1747, v.7

Edwards, Supplement to Warburton (1748)

Blair 1753, v.7

Theobald 4 1757, v.7

Heath, Revisal (1765)

Edwards, Canons of Criticism (1765)

Nichols, Illustrations, v. 2 [Correspondence between Styan Thirlby, Warburton, Theobald] (1817)

Dr. Johnson, Edward Capell, George Steevens, Edmund Malone, Isaac Reed, Joseph Rann

Dr. Johnson 1 1765, v.7

Dr. Johnson 2 1765, v.7

Tyrwhitt, Observations (1766)

Capell 1768, v.8

Capell, Notes and Various Readings, 1783, v.1.2

Johnson-Steevens v1773, v.8

Jennens 1774

Johnson-Steevens v1778, v.8

Malone, Supplement to v1778, v. 1 (1780)

Malone, Supplement to v1778, v. 2 (1780)

Ritson, Remarks (1783)

Johnson-Steevens-Reed v1785, v.8

Mason, Comments on v1785 (1785)

Malone 1790, v.7

Steevens v1793, v.12

Rann 1794, v.5

Criticism by Women

Griffith, Morality (1775)

Montagu, Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (1769)

Performance and Theater History

Downes, Roscius Anglicanus (1708) [1886 facsimile]

Gildon, Life of Betterton (1710)

Bell 1774, v.5

Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies, v. 1 (1784)

Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies, v. 2 (1784)

Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies, v. 3 (1784)

Studies, Conjectures, Lexicons

Upton, Critical Observations (1748)

Grey, Notes v. 1 (1754)

Grey, Notes, v. 2 (1754)

Grey, Remarks (1755)

Warner, Glossary (1768)

Becket, Concordance (1787)

Whalley, Enquiry into the Learning of Shakespeare (1748)

Farmer, Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare (1767)

Sherlock, Fragment on Shakspeare (1786)