Rowe0001Unfortunately our copy of the Rowe edition is incomplete, and has been damaged by water.

Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) was a lawyer, playwright, and minor politician. In his editing of Shakespeare, Rowe essentially followed the Fourth Folio edition of 1685, although he claimed to have arrived at the text by comparing “the several editions.” He did, however, restore some passages in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and King Lear from early texts.

In addition to being the first illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s collected works, this set marks the first octavo edition, the first to contain a biography of Shakespeare, and the first edition to bear an editor’s name. The seventh volume, produced by Edward Curll, contains poems. Rowe worked mainly from Fourth Folio. His contributions included lists of dramatis personae, act and scene divisions, and characters’ entrances and exits. His “Some Account of the Life, &c., of Mr. William Shakespear” served as the standard Shakespeare biography for the eighteenth century.

Rowe0002Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print (Cambridge UP, 2003)

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