About Our Editors

Knight, Hudson and Singer produced several editions of the plays in the middle of the century, wrote biographical material on Shakespeare and contributed to the controversies about the establishment of the text, authorship, and the proper role of an editor. For some of this material, see our Shakespeariana page elsewhere on our site.

KNT1 (1838-43)

The Standard Edition of the Pictorial Shakspere. Edited by Charles Knight. 7 vols. (London: Charles Knight and Co., 1838-43. [1846 rpt.]).

Charles Knight (1791-1873)

Knight was a publishing polymath, not just producing four fine editions of Shakespeare along with a biography and weighing in on the Collier controversy, but was a journalist, published The English Cyclopedia and a history of England, but superintended the publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. This first edition was second in line, after Samuel Weller Singer’s 1826 Shakespeare, of the post-Variorum editions, without the extensive scholarly commentary of the Enlightenment editors, meant for a general, even popular audience. The illustrations, of course, were the selling point, and are marvelously done.

His palomar.edu entry.

Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4.,Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7
William Shakspere: A Biography (1843)

HUD1 (1851)

The Works of Shakespeare: The Text Carefully Restored According to the First Editions; With Introductions, Notes Original and Selected, and a Life of the Poet, by the Rev. H. N. Hudson, A. M., 11 vols. (Boston and Cambridge: James Munroe, 1851).


Henry N. Hudson (1814-1886)

Hudson created the first significant American edition of Shakespeare (1851-56) after that of G.C. Verplanck (1847), with others to follow, most notably the Hudson School Shakespeare (1871-73) and the magisterial final edition (1881). Modern scholars consider him invaluable in the line of editors and commentators.

His palomar.edu entry.

Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7, Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10, Vol. 11 (missing)
Shakespeare: His Life, Art, and Characters, 2 vols. (1872), [biography] vol. 1, vol. 2

SING2 (1856)

The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Text Carefully Revised with Notes by Samuel Weller Singer, F.S.A.: The Life of the Poet and Critical Essays on the Play by William Watkiss Lloyd, M.R.S.L., 10 vols. (London: Bell and Daldy, 1865).

Singer’s 1826 multivolume edition of the plays was created in reaction to the line of Variorum editions of Johnson, Steevens, Reed, and Boswell (1773-1821) with their sometimes prodigious commentary, with illustrations and relatively few commentary notes. His second edition (1856) reflects three subsequent decades of Shakespeare scholarship, as well as the controversies created by the Collier forgeries in the Perkins Folio. It is almost always fully collated by contemporary Shakespeare editors.


Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858)

His palomar.edu entry.

His Dictionary of National Biography entry.

Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7, Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10
The Text of Shakespeare Vindicated (1853) [related to the Collier controversy]

KTLY (1864)

The Plays of William Shakespeare, Carefully Edited by Thomas Keightley, 6 vols. (London: Bell and Daldy, 1864; rpt. 1866).

Keightley edited Milton as well as Shakespeare, but was probably better known for his History of Greece (1848) and The Fairy Mythology (1828), both of which went through many subsequent editions. He was not conservative with Shakespeare’s text, emending freely, often judiciously, and tends to be quoted occasionally by Variorum editors.


Thomas Keightley (1789-1872) (illustration from The Fairy Mythology)

His New York Times obituary.

Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6
The Shakespeare Expositor (1867) [commentary and conjectures]