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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1888

MERCHANT OF VENICE

Summary

INTRODUCTION

LITERARY HISTORY

Two quarto editions of this play were published in the same year, 1600; the first of these, known as the Roberts Quarto (Q. 1), bears the following title:

“The | excellent | History of the Mer | chant of Venice. | With the extreme cruelty of Shylocke | the Jew towards the saide Merchant, in cut | ting a iust pound of his flesh. And the obtaining | of Portia, by the choyse of | three Caskets. | Written by W. Shakespeare. | Printed by J. Roberts, 1600.”

The second quarto (Q. 2), known as the Heyes Quarto, has the following title-page:

“ The most excellent | Historie of the Merchant | of Venice. | With the extreame crueltie of Shylocke the Iewe | towards the sayd Merchant, in cutting a iust pound | of his flesh: and the obtayning of Portia | by the choyse of three | chests. | As it hath beene diuers times acted by the Lord | Chamberlaine his Seruants. | Written by William Shakespeare. At London, | Printed by J. R for Thomas Heyes, | and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard, at the | signe of the Greene Dragon. | 1600. | ”

Some authorities, Johnson and Capell amongst the number, speak of the latter Quarto as being anterior to Q. 1. J. P. Kemble, who possessed a copy of each Quarto, has inscribed in his copy of the Roberts Quarto, “First edition.” “Collated and perfect, J. P. K. 1798.”

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