Theobald 1740Lewis Theobald (1688-1744), a lawyer who enjoyed a limited success in the commercial theater, published a 194-page attack on Pope’s edition of Shakespeare in 1726.

Like Pope, Theobald set out his editorial program in the Preface to his edition of Shakespeare, first published in 1733.

Rowe had presented his readers with a clean page, containing his version of Shakespeare’s plays, formatted according to the conventions of the early eighteenth century and–in common with the seventeenth-century folios–lacking in annotation. Pope’s text was elegantly printed on the wider expanse of a quarto page, with generous margins . . . Theobald made a break with this general convention. In his edition, annotation became both more frequent and more intrusive on the page.”

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


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