With this website, the British Library brings collation (the comparison of variant texts in different copies of a printed book), formerly the province of literary scholars, into the hands of any interested novice. Shakespeare in Quarto presents digitized versions of all 21 of Shakespeare's plays that were published in quarto before 1642. These 21 plays appeared in more than 70 quarto editions, and in many cases the British Library owns more than one copy. Altogether, 93 copies can be viewed on this site. Comparing the texts could hardly be easier - select the Texts section of the site, choose a play from the drop down menus on the left, and then choose another copy to compare on the right. In addition, see the Expert Views part of the site to read essays comparing different quartos of Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew and King Lear. There is also a background section, with information on all things Shakespeare - the author's life, theatre, plays not in quarto and Shakespeare's other works.


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