The text in this edition is based on the 1623 First Folio, the first and original Complete Works lovingly assembled by Shakespeare's fellow-actors after his death. The First Folio is a literary icon and is the version of Shakespeare's text preferred by many actors and directors, yet no one has edited it in its entirety for over three hundred years.
In this area of the website we present a range of materials and resources to introduce you to The First Folio, to explain a little about its history and to explore in depth how the editorial team behind The RSC Shakespeare have used the very latest techniques and research to present a fresh and carefully edited version for the 21st century reader.
What is the First Folio?
Click here to view a series of introductory films presented by Gregory Doran, Chief Associate Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company.
With thanks to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Please note online videos tend to be much more bandwidth intensive and as such may take a little while to play (from 10 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your internet connection).
These movies are in Quicktime format.
If you are experiencing trouble viewing QuickTime movies with QuickTime Player or the QuickTime browser-plug-in click here to ensure that the software is properly installed on your Mac or Windows PC.
The Case for the Folio - Jonathan Bate
Click here to read a detailed account for scholars and advanced students of the textual issues and choices facing the Shakespeare editor and a passionate explanation of the approach taken in The RSC Shakespeare. This is a PDF document, to read it you may need to download Adobe Reader for more information click here.
Editing Shakespeare's Text – Eric Rasmussen
Click here to watch a powerpoint presentation and listen to an introductory lecture by Eric Rasmussen which explains what is involved in working closely with early printed copies of Shakespeare's text.