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Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century
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Book description

In the eighteenth century, Shakespeare became indisputably the most popular English dramatist. Published editions, dramatic performances and all kinds of adaptations of his works proliferated and his influence on authors and genres was extensive. By the second half of the century Shakespeare's status had been fully established, and since that time he has remained central to English culture. Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century explores the impact he had on various aspects of culture and society: not only in literature and the theatre, but also in visual arts, music and even national identity. The eighteenth century's Shakespeare, however, was not our Shakespeare. In recovering the particular ways in which his works were read and used during this crucial period in his reception, this book, with its many illustrations and annotated bibliography, is the clearest way into understanding this key phase in the reception of the playwright.


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Reference guide to Shakespeare in the eighteenth century

Frans De Bruyn

So much has been written about Shakespeare over the centuries that it is impossible to keep track of everything that has been published, let alone read it all. This guide cannot, therefore, claim to be comprehensive, but it does offer, in Samuel Johnson's phrase, an ‘extensive view’ of the eighteenth-century literary and theatrical landscape, in which Shakespeare figured very prominently. Scholars and students will find ample materials here to direct them in their exploration of Shakespeare on both stage and page in the period. The guide lists published works (eighteenth-century editions and criticism, and modern critical studies), as well as adaptations of Shakespeare by eighteenth-century dramatists and theatre managers, visual representations by illustrators and artists, and thumbnail biographies of major editors, critics, actors, theatre managers and artists. The following analytical table of contents shows how the guide is organized.

  1. 1 Editing, annotating and publishing Shakespeare 350

    1. 1.1 Major eighteenth-century editions

    2. 1.2 Shakespeare editors and critics: thumbnail biographies

    3. 1.3 Modern critical studies: editing and annotation

  1. 2 Eighteenth-century critical commentary364

    1. 2.1 A chronological checklist of eighteenth-century critical works

    2. 2.2 Modern reprints of and guides to eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism

    3. 2.3 Modern scholarly studies of eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism

    4. 2.4 Periodical essays and performance reviews

    5. 2.5 Modern guides to eighteenth-century periodicals and reviews

  1. 3 Staging and adaptation383

    1. 3.1 Eighteenth-century adaptations

    1. 3.1.1 List of adaptations (by original play title)

    2. 3.1.2 Collections and editions of adaptations and acting versions

  1. 3.2 Shakespeare adapters, actors and managers

  2. 3.2.1 Published sources for the lives of eighteenth-century theatre personnel

  3. 3.2.2 Leading stage personnel: thumbnail biographies

  1. 3.3 Eighteenth-century commentary on staging and performance

  2. 3.4 Modern critical studies: staging and adapting Shakespeare

    1. 3.4.1 Key modern reference works

    2. 3.4.2 Modern critical studies

  1. 4 Visual representations of Shakespeare415

    1. 4.1 Book illustrations and series of engravings

    2. 4.2 Major artists and their works

    3. 4.3 Modern critical studies: art and illustration

  1. 5 Other modern criticism425

    1. 5.1 Literary history, reception, cultural studies

    2. 5.2 Biographical studies

    3. 5.3 Shakespeare on the continent and in America

1 Editing, annotating and publishing Shakespeare

1.1 major eighteenth-century editions

This checklist of editions includes the major scholarly editions, edited by Rowe, Pope, Theobald, Warburton, Hanmer, Capell, Johnson, Steevens, Reed and Malone, as well as other noteworthy editions of the period. The list is not exhaustive. For a descriptive account of the eighteenth-century editions and a bibliographical chronology, see Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Murphy lists all ‘complete play/collected-works editions’ published down to 1821. See also William Jaggard, Shakespeare Bibliography: A Dictionary of Every Known Issue of the Writings of Our National Poet and of Recorded Opinion Thereon in the English Language (Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare Press, 1911).


The Works of Mr. William Shakespear; in Six Volumes. Adorn’d with Cuts. Revis’d and Corrected, with an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, ed. Nicholas Rowe, 6 vols. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1709). There is also a nine-volume issue of this edition.
The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. Volume the Seventh. Containing, Venus & Adonis, Tarquin & Lucrece and His Miscellany Poems. With Critical Remarks on His Plays, & c. to Which is Prefix’d an Essay on the Art, Rise and Progress of the Stage in Greece, Rome and England, ed. Charles Gildon (London: E. Curll and E. Sanger, 1710). Issued as a (spurious) seventh-volume supplement to Rowe, Works of Shakespear.

Rowe's edition was reissued in 1714 in three versions, the first two versions being eight volumes each. The third version includes the Gildon edition of the poems published by Curll and Sanger (see previous entry) as a ninth volume. In the 1730s Tonson reissued the Rowe playtexts individually; they were gathered into a collected eight-volume set in 1735, but the volume title-pages are mistakenly dated 1635. Each play in the set has its own title-page, dated 1734 to 1736. These individual playtexts were sold cheaply to counter the threat posed by Robert Walker, a rival publisher who began issuing cheap editions of individual plays in 1734. The sudden availability, for the first time, of inexpensive and accessible editions was a turning point in making Shakespeare more widely and accurately known as an author.


The Works of Shakespear. In Six Volumes, ed. Alexander Pope, 6 vols. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1723–5).
The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. The Seventh Volume. Containing Venus and Adonis; Tarquin and Lucrece, and Mr. Shakespear's Miscellany Poems. To Which is Prefix’d, An Essay on the Art, Rise, and Progress of the Stage, in Greece, Rome, and England [by C. Gildon]. And a Glossary of the Old Words Us’d in These Works. The Whole Revis’d and Corrected, with a Preface by Dr. Sewell (London: A. Bettesworth, F. Fayram et al., 1725). An unsolicited supplementary volume to Pope's edition, essentially a reissue of the spurious seventh volume of the Rowe edition, containing the poems edited by Gildon.

Two editions were issued in 1728, one in eight and the other in ten volumes. The two supplementary volumes are vol. Ix, containing Pericles and six attributed (but spurious) plays, and vol. X, containing Shakespeare's poetry. Further editions and reissues of Pope's edition appeared in 1766 (Glasgow) and 1768 (Birmingham). Andrew Murphy reports (p. 315) that he has been unable to trace a 1731 edition listed by Jaggard (p. 499).


The Works of Shakespeare: In Seven Volumes. Collated with the Oldest Copies, and Corrected; with Notes, Explanatory, and Critical, ed. Lewis Theobald, 7 vols. (London: A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, J. Tonson et al., 1733). Further editions and reissues in 1740, 1752, 1757, 1762, 1767, 1772, 1773.


The Works of Shakespear. In Six Volumes. Carefully Revised and Corrected by the Former Editions, ed. Thomas Hanmer, 6 vols. (Oxford: Printed at the Theatre, 1743–4). Second Oxford edition 1770–1. This edition also reprinted in London in 1745, 1747, 1748, 1750–1, 1760.


The Works of Shakespear in Eight Volumes. The Genuine Text, Collated with All the Former Editions, and Then Corrected and Emended, Is Here Settled; Being Restored from the Blunders of the First Editors, and the Interpolations of the Two Last: With a Comment and Notes, Critical and Explanatory. By Mr. Pope and Mr. Warburton, ed. William Warburton, 8 vols. (London: J. and P. Knapton et al., 1747).

Scottish editions

The Works of Shakespear. In Which the Beauties Observed by Pope, Warburton, and Dodd, Are Pointed Out. Together with the Author's Life; a Glossary; Copious Indexes; and, a List of the Various Readings, 8 vols. (Edinburgh: W. Sands, Hamilton & Balfour et al., 1753). Reprinted 1761, 1769, 1771, 1795. The editorship of this edition is traditionally ascribed to Hugh Blair, but there is also evidence for the involvement of John Reid. See Murphy, pp. 130–1.
The Works of Shakespear . . . Collated and Corrected by the Former Editions, by Mr. Pope. Printed from his Second Edition, 8 vols. (Glasgow: Robert & Andrew Foulis, 1766). A collected edition of playtexts issued individually from 1752 onwards. Jaggard calls this the first Scottish edition of Shakespeare's plays.


The Plays of William Shakespeare, in Eight Volumes, with the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators; to Which Are Added Notes by Sam. Johnson, ed. Samuel Johnson, 8 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson, C. Corbet et al., 1765). Reissued in 1768.

Johnson, Steevens and Reed

Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare, Being the Whole Number Printed in Quarto During His Life-time . . . Collated Where There Were Different Copies, and Publish’d from the Originals, by George Steevens, Esq., ed. George Steevens, 4 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson, T. Payne and W. Richardson, 1766).
The Plays of William Shakespeare . . . with the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators; to Which Are Added Notes by S. Johnson and G. Steevens. With an Appendix [by Richard Farmer], ed. Samuel Johnson and George Steevens, 10 vols. (London: C. Bathurst et al., 1773).
The Plays of William Shakespeare: With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators, to Which are Added Notes by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens. The Second Edition, Revised and Augmented, ed. Samuel Johnson and George Steevens, with Isaac Reed, 10 vols. (London: C. Bathurst, W. Strachan et al., 1778). Most of the revision and augmentation in this edition was done by Steevens.
The Plays of William Shakespeare, in Ten Volumes. With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators; to Which are Added Notes by S. Johnson and G. Steevens. The Third Edition, ed. George Steevens and Isaac Reed (London: C. Bathurst, J. Rivington and Sons et al., 1785). Fourth edition issued in 1793 in 15 vols. The 1793 edition was Steevens's response to Malone's edition of 1790.
The Plays of William Shakspeare. In Twenty-One Volumes. With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators. To Which Are Added, Notes by Samuel Johnson and G. Steevens. The fifth edition. Revised and Augmented by I. Reed, with a Glossarial Index, ed. Isaac Reed (London: J. Johnson et al., 1803). Known as the ‘first variorum’ Shakespeare, this is the last of the editions stemming from Johnson's 1765 edition.


Mr. William Shakespeare His Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, Set Out by Himself in Quarto, or by the Players his Fellows in Folio, and Now Faithfully Republish’d from Those Editions in Ten Volumes Octavo; with an Introduction: Whereunto Will Be Added, in Some Other Volumes, Notes, Critical and Explanatory, and a Body of Various Readings Entire, ed. Edward Capell, 10 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson, 1768).
Notes and Various Readings to Shakespeare, Part the First; Containing, All's Well That Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Hamlet, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV (London: Edw. and Cha. Dilly, 1774). The first instalment of critical and textual notes designed to accompany Capell's edition of the plays. Only the first nine plays are annotated in this volume.
Notes and Various Readings to Shakespeare, 3 vols. (London: Henry Hughs, 1779–83). Vols. I and Ii contain notes and textual readings for the plays, intended to accompany Capell's edition. Vol. Iii comes with a new title-page descriptive of its contents: The School of Shakespeare; or Authentick Extracts from Divers English Books, That Were in Print in That Author's Time.


Supplement to the Edition of Shakspeare's Plays Published in 1778 by S. Johnson and G. Steevens . . . Containing Additional Observations by Several of the Former Commentators: to Which Are Subjoined the Genuine Poems of the Same Author, and Seven Plays That Have Been Ascribed to Him; with Notes by the Editor, and Others, ed. Edmond Malone, 2 vols. (London: C. Bathurst, W. Strahan et al., 1780). Malone's first major contribution to the editing of Shakespeare.
A Second Appendix to Mr. Malone's Supplement to the Last Edition of the Plays of Shakspeare: Containing Additional Observations by the Editor of the Supplement (London, 1783).
The Plays and Poems of William Shakspeare, in Ten Volumes; Collated Verbatim with the Most Authentick Copies, and Revised: with the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators; to Which Are Added, an Essay on the Chronological Order of his Plays; an Essay Relative to Shakspeare and Jonson; a Dissertation on the Three Parts of King Henry VI.; an Historical Account of the English Stage; and Notes, ed. Edmond Malone, 10 vols. in 11 parts (London: J. Rivington and Sons et al., 1790). Vol. I is in two parts. There is also a seven-volume edition ascribed to Malone, in which the first volume is dated 1790 and the rest are dated 1786, but Malone disclaimed any responsibility for this edition.
The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare with the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators: Comprehending a Life of the Poet and an Enlarged History of the Stage by the Late E. Malone, with a New Glossarial Index, ed. Edmond Malone and James Boswell, Jr, 21 vols. (London: F. C. & J. Rivington, 1821).


A Collection of Poems, viz. I. Venus and Adonis. II. The Rape of Lucrece. III. The Passionate Pilgrim. IV. Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Musick (London: Bernard Lintott, 1709).
Jennens: Between 1770 and 1774, Charles Jennens produced collated texts of five plays, each published separately: King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and Julius Caesar.
Bell's ‘Acting Edition’: Bell's Edition of Shakespeare's Plays, As They Are Now Performed at the Theatres Royal in London, Regulated from the Prompt Books of Each House . . . With Notes Critical and Illustrative . . . by the Authors of the Dramatic Censor [i.e. Francis Gentleman], 9 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1774). The 1773–4 edition issued by publisher John Bell is an ‘acting’ edition using prompt-book texts from the patent theatres, Drury Lane and Covent Garden. This edition also appeared in separate numbers between 1775 and 1778. Not to be confused with Bell's ‘literary’ edition, issued in 1785–8 (see separate entry below). The publication history of Bell's editions is complex; see Murphy, pp. 329–30, and Burnim and Highfill, John Bell (section 4.3 below). Further editions appeared in numerous forms until the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Stockdale's Edition of Shakespeare: Including, in One Volume, the Whole of His Dramatic Works; with Explanatory Notes Compiled from Various Commentators (London: John Stockdale, 1784).
Bell's ‘Literary Edition’: In 1785–8 Bell issued a ‘literary’ edition, based on the Johnson/Steevens text, in individual parts gathered together upon completion in twenty duodecimo volumes under the title Dramatick Writings of Will. Shakspere, Printed Complete from the Best Editions of Sam. Johnson and Geo. Steevens (half-title, Bell's Edition of Shakspere), 20 vols. (London: John Bell, 1788). Vols. IIi are entitled Prolegomena to the Dramatick Writings of Will. Shakspere; and vols. IiiXx are entitled The Dramatick Writings of Will. Shakspere. Each play has a separate title-page (dated 1785–6) and pagination; followed by a set of ‘Annotations’ with a separate title-page (dated 1787) and new pagination.
Shakspeare's Dramatic Works; with Explanatory Notes . . . To Which Is Now Added, a Copious Index . . . By the Rev. Samuel Ayscough, 3 vols. (London: John Stockdale, 1790). A reissue of Stockdale's two-volume edition with an added third volume containing the first complete concordance to Shakespeare, by the great indexer and cataloguer Samuel Ayscough. Issued again in 1791.
The Plays of William Shakspeare, Complete (London: Bellamy and Robarts, 1791). An illustrated edition.
The Dramatic Works of Shakespeare, in Six Volumes; with Notes by Joseph Rann, ed. Joseph Rann, 6 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1786–93/4?).
The first American edition: The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare Corrected from the Latest and Best London Editions (Philadelphia: Bioren and Madan, 1795).
The Plays of William Shakspeare (London: Vernor and Hood, E. Harding and J. Wright, 1800). An illustrated edition, called ‘Harding's Edition’, with text from ‘Mr. Steevens's Last Edition’. The plays were issued individually in 1798–9 and collected in 1800.

1.2 Shakespeare editors and critics: thumbnail biographies

Bell, John (1745–1831), publisher and bookseller. An enterprising publisher who took advantage in the 1770s of the legal rejection in England of monopolistic publishing practices to produce multi-volume editions of Shakespeare, English theatrical texts, and English poets. His ‘acting edition’ of Shakespeare, based on prompt books used at the Covent Garden and Drury Lane theatres, was an innovation that offers valuable evidence of the ways in which Shakespeare's texts were actually performed. This edition of Shakespeare, as well as the subsequent ‘literary’ edition, is important for its fine illustrations, which include portraits of contemporary actors and actresses.

Capell, Edward (1713–81), literary historian and editor. In an age when editors promised more in the way of collation and reference to early texts than they delivered, Capell stood out for his uncompromising dedication to textual accuracy. Rather than working from a recent print edition of Shakespeare, he insisted on going back to the earliest existing sources. He argued for the importance of the early Quartos, as opposed to the first Folio, as authentic sources for the Shakespearean text. Although he did not achieve conspicuous success with his edition of Shakespeare, he was eventually recognized as a groundbreaking editor for the scholarly quality and importance of his work.

Farmer, Richard (1735–97), literary historian and academic. He was Master of Emmanuel College at Cambridge University, where he also served as Vice-Chancellor. His major critical contribution on Shakespeare was An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare (1767), a work that addresses the vexed question of Shakespeare's knowledge of ancient languages and classical literature and culture. Farmer sought to establish whether Shakespeare's access to classical culture was direct or reliant on translation. Farmer found that Shakespeare did not have much knowledge of ancient or modern foreign languages, a conclusion that spoke directly to the period's fascination with the nature of Shakespeare's genius.

Gentleman, Francis (1728–84), actor, critic and playwright. He was author of The Dramatic Censor (1770), a collection of essays on the drama, a significant number of which are devoted to Shakespeare. His essays frequently eulogize Garrick, and they provide valuable descriptions of Garrick's Shakespearean acting. Gentleman also contributed introductions and notes to Bell's ‘acting edition’ of Shakespeare.

Griffith, Elizabeth (1727–93), playwright, novelist and critic. Griffith's The Morality of Shakespeare's Drama Illustrated (1775) was dedicated to Garrick. She declared that Elizabeth Montagu's example ‘stirred up my emulation to this attempt’, and indeed, her work, together with that of Montagu, Lennox and the Shakespeare Ladies Club, signals the important contribution women made to Shakespeare's growing reputation. Her critical model was Samuel Johnson, whom she recognized as the only editor ‘who has considered Shakespeare's writings in a moral light’.

Hanmer, Thomas (1677–1746), politician and editor. He produced an opulent edition of Shakespeare for the Clarendon Press at Oxford. The edition had no editorial value, as it simply reproduced the text of Alexander Pope, but it was lavishly illustrated and bound.

Johnson, Samuel (1709–84), critic, editor, essayist, literary biographer, lexicographer. His edition of Shakespeare, published in 1765, is not the most innovative or significant in terms of its textual scholarship, yet it stands as a milestone in the history of Shakespeare editing, both for its Preface and its extensive, critically acute annotations. The edition appeared in the same decade that saw David Garrick's Jubilee celebration at Stratford in 1769, and as such it marks the apotheosis of Shakespeare as England's national poet. The Preface is a landmark critical statement that rejects a narrowly neoclassical evaluation of Shakespeare in favour of a broadly empirical, mimetic approach that values Shakespeare as the pre-eminent poet of nature and that canonizes him as a classical writer on the basis of his enduring reputation with successive generations of readers.

Lennox, Charlotte, née Ramsay (c.1730–1804), novelist and literary scholar. Her Shakespear Illustrated (1753–4) is a pioneering study of Shakespeare's sources. She identified and reproduced a number of sources, and she commented on Shakespeare's use of them. Her study of the playwright's reliance on source texts led her to conclude that his strength lay more in characterization than in invention. In her introductory remarks, she expresses concern that Shakespeare's admirers may regard her critical project as injurious to his reputation.

Malone, Edmond (1741–1812), literary scholar, editor and biographer. His ten-volume edition of Shakespeare, which appeared in 1790, is rightly regarded as both a culmination of eighteenth-century editing and a new departure in Shakespeare scholarship. In producing his edition Malone brought to bear high standards of accuracy, based on painstaking archival research and documentary evidence. He also uncovered fresh materials for the life of Shakespeare and undertook the first sustained effort to ascertain the chronology of Shakespeare's plays. Throughout, Malone's concern was to recover the authentic, original Shakespeare by returning to the earliest possible editions and by tracking down documents from the playwright's own time. He was also active in exposing the literary forgeries of William Henry Ireland.

Montagu, Elizabeth, née Robinson (1718–1800), bluestocking and literary author. She was encouraged by Elizabeth Carter to write An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (1769), a defence of Shakespeare against foreign critical strictures, especially those of Voltaire. Appearing in the same year as Garrick's Shakespeare Jubilee, her work exemplifies the increasingly nationalistic treatment of Shakespeare in the middle decades of the eighteenth century. Her correspondence with Carter indicates that Samuel Johnson, whom she regarded as an overly narrow critic of Shakespeare, was also a target of her criticism in the Essay.

Oldys, William (1696–1761), literary historian and critic. An acknowledged expert on the early English drama, Oldys accumulated notes towards a biography of Shakespeare that were mined by Samuel Johnson, George Steevens, Isaac Reed and Edmond Malone for their editions of Shakespeare's plays.

Pope, Alexander (1688–1744), poet, translator, critic and editor. Pope brought his poetic sensibility to bear on his editing of Shakespeare. Though he was aware of the philological and textual duties of an editor in his time, he was more concerned to polish the rough jewel that he perceived Shakespeare to be and to present a text that met the expectations of eighteenth-century readers. An indication of this is his editorial policy of marking ‘shining passages’ with commas or asterisks and relegating ‘suspected passages which are excessively bad’ to footnotes. Despite his deficiencies as an editor, Pope produced an important critical statement in his Preface, praising Shakespeare as a genius and a poet of nature. Pope's edition prompted Lewis Theobald to respond in Shakespeare Restored with a refutation of his errors and, subsequently, an important Shakespeare edition of his own.

Reed, Isaac (1742–1807), editor, annotator, biographer and antiquary. As a man of retiring disposition, Reed worked unobtrusively in the background as a commentator on Shakespeare, and almost all of his publications appeared anonymously. Yet he was regarded by fellow Shakespeareans Richard Farmer, George Steevens and Edmond Malone as formidably knowledgeable about English literary history, a knowledge that bore fruit in the 1785 edition of the Johnson/Steevens Shakespeare, which was edited primarily by Reed himself. In 1803, he published what has become known as the first variorum edition of Shakespeare. He also expanded David Erskine Baker's Companion to the Playhouse in 1782, reissuing the work under the title Biographia Dramatica, and produced a second, revised edition of Robert Dodsley's A Select Collection of Old Plays (1780), a twelve-volume collection of fifty-one plays of Elizabethan origin.

Richardson, William (1743–1814), literary scholar. He was Professor of Humanity at Glasgow University. He produced five critical works on Shakespeare during his lifetime. They are pioneering studies of Shakespeare's characters, grounded in the eighteenth-century psychological theory of the ruling passion.

Ritson, Joseph (1752–1803), antiquary. He was a colourful and quarrelsome figure who brought to his Shakespeare criticism his characteristic pugnacity. He assailed the accuracy of Johnson and Steevens's 1778 edition of Shakespeare, and he attacked the work of Reed and Malone as well. He championed the need for a properly collated edition, but his own proposals for an edition never bore fruit. His copious historical knowledge enabled him to detect the manuscripts made public by William Henry Ireland as forgeries.

Rowe, Nicholas (1674–1718), poet and playwright. His edition of Shakespeare inaugurated the modern tradition of Shakespeare editing. He supplied the first biographical account of the playwright, which remained standard for most of the eighteenth century. He made the text of Shakespeare more accessible by modernizing Shakespeare's spelling and punctuation, dividing the plays into acts and scenes, supplying a dramatis personae for each play, and indicating the entrances and exits of characters. At the behest of his publishers, Rowe, like most subsequent eighteenth-century editors, based his edition on the last previously published version, in his case the 1685 fourth Folio.

Steevens, George (1736–1800), literary scholar and editor. His work as a Shakespeare editor began with his contribution of some notes to Samuel Johnson's 1765 edition, chiefly correcting the notes of previous editors. In subsequent editions of Johnson's Shakespeare (1773, 1778, 1785) Steevens played an ever greater editorial role. His wide learning and his extensive knowledge of early English drama were the basis for the hundreds of notes he contributed to each edition, as well as to Isaac Reed's edition of early plays, A Select Collection of Old Plays (1780). Steevens also produced a groundbreaking old-spelling edition of twenty Shakespeare Quarto texts in 1766, making the Quarto texts widely available for the first time, and at his urging, John Nichols published Six Old Plays (1779), an anthology of plays Shakespeare used as sources.

Theobald, Lewis (1688–1744), editor, literary scholar, translator and playwright. One of the great Shakespeare editors, Theobald earned lasting notoriety as the butt of Pope's satire in The Dunciad because he had dared to criticize Pope's edition of Shakespeare in print. In contrast to Pope's aesthetic approach to editing, Theobald was a pioneer in applying to Shakespeare philological methods previously reserved for classical authors. His knowledge of theatrical practice, palaeography and classical scholarship, as well as his extensive reading of Elizabethan drama and other writings, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Shakespeare's plays, prepared him amply for his role as editor. Theobald advocated a form of conjectural emendation that corrected problems in the Shakespeare text in a way that was sensitive to the original context in which it was produced.

Warburton, William (1698–1779), literary writer, Church of England bishop, and religious controversialist. His interest in Shakespeare dated back to Theobald's edition, which includes some notes by Warburton. His edition of Shakespeare (1747), which contains many obtuse emendations and conjectures, was attacked by Thomas Edwards and Benjamin Heath; it is considered one of the weaker editions produced in the eighteenth century. The question of how much Warburton had contributed to Thomas Hanmer's edition of Shakespeare also aroused controversy when Warburton, in the Preface to his edition, accused Hanmer of ‘trafficking with my Papers without my knowledge’.

1.3 Modern critical studies: editing and annotation

Allentuck, Marcia, ‘Sir Thomas Hanmer Instructs Francis Hayman: An Editor's Notes to His Illustrator’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 27 (1976), 288–315.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck, ‘An Early Eighteenth Century Note on Falstaff’, Philological Quarterly, 16 (1937), 84–5.
Bedford, Ron, ‘The Case of the Rouged Corpse: Shakespeare, Malone, and the Modern Subject’, in Shakespeare Matters: History, Teaching, Performance, ed. Lloyd Davis (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Press, 2003), pp. 254–65.
Belanger, Terry, ‘Tonson, Wellington and the Shakespeare Copyrights’, in Studies in the Book Trade in Honour of Graham Pollard, ed. R. W. Hunt, I. G. Philip, R. J. Roberts and John Carter (Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1975), pp. 195–209.
Bullough, Geoffrey, ‘Theobald on Shakespeare's Sources’, in Mirror up to Shakespeare: Essays in Honour of G. R. Hibbard, ed. J. C. Gray (University of Toronto Press, 1984), pp. 15–33.
Butt, John, Pope's Taste in Shakespeare (London: H. Milford for the Shakespeare Association, Oxford University Press, 1936).
Byrne, Muriel St Clare, ‘Bell's Shakespeare’, Times Literary Supplement, 31 January 1948, 65.
Cannan, Paul D., ‘Early Shakespeare Criticism, Charles Gildon, and the Making of Shakespeare the Playwright-Poet’, Modern Philology, 102 (2004), 35–55.
Chaudhuri, Saradindu Hom, ‘Nicholas Rowe, the Shakespeare Critic’, Modern Review, 123 (1968), 739–41.
Collins, John Churton, ‘The Porson of Shakespearian Criticism’, in Essays and Studies (London: Macmillan, 1895), pp. 263–315. An essay on Theobald.
Corballis, Richard, ‘Copy-Text for Theobald's “Shakespeare”’, Library, 6th ser., 8 (1986), 156–9.
Crosse, Gordon, ‘Charles Jennens as Editor of Shakespeare’, Library, 4th ser., 16 (1935), 236–40.
Dash, Irene G., ‘A Glimpse of the Sublime in Warburton's Edition of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare Studies, 11 (1978), 159–74.
Dash, Irene G., ‘The Touch of the Poet’, Modern Language Studies, 4.2 (1974), 59–64.
Dawson, Giles E., ‘The Copyright of Shakespeare's Dramatic Works’, in Studies in Honor of A. H. R. Fairchild (Columbus: University of Missouri, 1946), pp. 9–35.
Dawson, Giles E., ‘Warburton, Hanmer, and the 1745 Edition of Shakespeare’, Studies in Bibliography, 2 (1949), 35–48.
De Bruyn, Frans (ed.), Dictionary of Literary Biography: Eighteenth-Century British Literary Scholars and Critics, vol. 356 (Detroit: Gale Cengage, 2010).
de Grazia, Margreta, Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991).
Dixon, Peter, ‘Pope's Shakespeare’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 63 (1964), 191–203.
Dobrée, Bonamy, ‘How to Edit Shakespeare’, in The Morality of Art, ed. D. W. Jefferson (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969), pp. 33–40.
Dowden, Edward, ‘Some Old Shakespearians’, in Essays Modern and Elizabethan by Edward Dowden (London: Dent, 1910; repr. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1970), pp. 213–33.
Eastman, Arthur M., ‘Johnson's Shakespeare and the Laity: A Textual Study’, PMLA, 65 (1950), 1112–21.
Eastman, Arthur M., ‘The Texts from which Johnson Printed His Shakespeare’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 49 (1950), 182–91.
Eddy, Donald D., ‘Samuel Johnson's Editions of Shakespeare (1765)’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 56 (1962), 428–44.
Ford, H. L., Shakespeare, 1700–1740. A Collation of the Editions and Separate Plays with Some Account of T. Johnson and R. Walker (Oxford University Press, 1935).
Forster, Antonia, ‘Eighteenth-Century Shakespeare: Samuel Badcock, a Would-Be Editor’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 44 (1993), 44–53.
Franklin, Colin, ‘Print and Design in Eighteenth-Century Editions of Shakespeare’, The Book Collector, 43 (1994), 517–28.
Franklin, Colin, Shakespeare Domesticated: The Eighteenth-Century Editions (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1991).
George, David, ‘Eighteenth-Century Editors, Critics, and Performers of Coriolanus, Analytical & Enumerative Bibliography, n.s. 10.2 (1999), 63–71.
Gondris, Joanna (ed.), Reading Readings: Essays on Shakespeare Editing in the Eighteenth Century (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998).
Groom, Nick, ‘Introduction’, in The Johnson-Steevens Edition of the Plays of William Shakespeare (Chippenham, Wilts.: Routledge; Thoemmes Press, 1995), vol. i, pp. v–lxix.
Hailey, R. Carter, ‘ “This Instance Will Not Do”: George Steevens, Shakespeare, and the Revision(s) of Johnson's Dictionary, Studies in Bibliography: Papers of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 54 (2001), 243–64.
Hamm, Jr, Robert B., ‘Rowe's Shakespear (1709) and the Tonson House Style’, College Literature, 31.3 (2004), 179–205.
Hamlin, William M., ‘A Select Bibliographical Guide to The Two Noble Kinsmen, in Shakespeare, Fletcher, and The Two Noble Kinsmen, ed. Charles H. Frey (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989), pp. 186–216.
Holland, Peter, ‘Editing for Performance: Dr Johnson and the Stage’, Ilha do Desterro: A Journal of Language and Literature, 49 (2005), 75–98.
Holland, Peter, ‘Introduction’, in The Works of Mr. William Shakespear, ed. Nicholas Rowe, 7 vols. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1999), vol. I, pp. vii–xxxv.
Holland, Peter, ‘Modernizing Shakespeare: Nicholas Rowe and The Tempest, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51 (2000), 24–32.
Ioppolo, Grace, ‘ “Much they ought not to have attempted”: Editors of Collected Editions of Shakespeare from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries’, in The Culture of Collected Editions, ed. Andrew Nash (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 157–71.
Ioppolo, Grace, ‘ “Old” and “New” Revisionists: Shakespeare's Eighteenth-Century Editors’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 52 (1989), 347–61.
Ioppolo, Grace, Revising Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).
Isaacs, Jacob, ‘Shakespearian Scholarship’, in A Companion to Shakespeare Studies, ed. H. Granville-Barker and G. B. Harrison (Cambridge University Press, 1934), pp. 305–24.
Jackson, Alfred, ‘Rowe's Edition of Shakespeare’, The Library, 4th ser., 10 (1930), 455–73.
Jansohn, Christa, ‘ “Now, sir, what is your text?”: Shakespeare Editions Old and New’, in In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare, Studien zur englischen Literatur 20 (Münster: LIT, 2005), pp. 23–47.
Jarvis, Simon, Scholars and Gentlemen: Shakespearean Textual Criticism and Representations of Scholarly Labour, 1725–1765 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).
Jealous, Walter K, ‘Two Hampstead Shakespearean Scholars’, paper presented at the Shakespeare Evening of the Highgate Thirty Club, London, 20 May 1916.
Johnston, Shirley White, ‘From Preface to Practice: Samuel Johnson's Editorship of Shakespeare’, in Greene Centennial Studies: Essays Presented to Donald Greene in the Centennial Year of the University of Southern California, ed. Paul J. Korshin and Robert R. Allen (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1984), pp. 250–70.
Johnston, Shirley White, ‘Samuel Johnson's Macbeth: “Fair is foul”’, Age of Johnson, 3 (1990), 189–230.
Johnston, Shirley White, ‘Samuel Johnson's Text of King Lear: “Dull Duty” Reassessed’, Yearbook of English Studies, 6 (1976), 80–91.
Jones, Richard Foster, Lewis Theobald: His Contribution to English Scholarship, with Some Unpublished Letters (New York: Columbia University Press, 1919).
Kastan, David Scott, Shakespeare and the Book (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
King, Edmund G. C., ‘Pope's 1723–25 Shakespear, Classical Editing, and Humanistic Reading Practices’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 32.2 (2008), 3–13.
Kliman, Bernice W., ‘Charles Jennens’ Shakespeare and His Eighteenth-Century Competitors’, Cahiers élisabéthains, 58 (2000), 59–71.
Kliman, Bernice W., ‘Cum Notis Variorum: Thomas Davies, Eighteenth-Century Commentator on Shakespeare: Marginalia and Published Notes’, Shakespeare Newsletter, 51 (2001–2), 83–4, 90, 96.
Kliman, Bernice W., ‘Samuel Johnson, 1745 Annotator? Eighteenth-Century Editors, Anonymity, and the Shakespeare Wars’, Analytical & Enumerative Bibliography, n.s. 6 (1992), 185–207.
Kliman, Bernice W., ‘Who Called F1 Best First? A Note on Shakespeare's First Folio in the Eighteenth Century’, Cahiers élisabéthains, 47 (1995), 87–93.
Koelb, Clayton, ‘ “Tragedy” and “The Tragic”: The Shakespearean Connection’, Genre, 13 (1980), 275–86.
Leonard, John, ‘Shakespeare Restored: Shakespeare's (Inter)Textuality in Early Eighteenth-Century Criticism’, in Shakespeare and the World Elsewhere, ed. Robin Eaden, Heather Kerr and Madge Mitton, Studies in Shakespeare 2 (Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association, 1993), pp. 164–70.
Lim, C. S., ‘Emendation of Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century: The Case of Johnson’, Cahiers élisabéthains, 33 (1988), 23–30.
Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, The First Editors of Shakespeare: Pope and Theobald (London: Nutt, 1906); also published as The Text of Shakespeare (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1906).
Lynch, Jack, ‘The Dignity of an Ancient: Johnson Edits the Editors’, in Comparative Excellence: New Essays on Shakespeare and Johnson, ed. Eric Rasmussen and Aaron Santesso (New York: AMS Press, 2007), pp. 97–114.
Martin, Peter, Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
McKerrow, Ronald B., The Treatment of Shakespeare's Text by His Earlier Editors, 1706–1768, British Academy Shakespeare Lecture for 1933; repr. in Studies in Shakespeare: British Academy Lectures, ed. Peter Alexander (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 103–31.
Monaghan, T. J., ‘Johnson's Additions to his Shakespeare for the Edition of 1773’, Review of English Studies, n.s. 4 (1953), 234–48.
Mowat, Barbara A., ‘The Form of Hamlet's Fortunes’, Renaissance Drama, n.s. 19 (1988), 97–126.
Mowat, Barbara A., ‘Nicholas Rowe and the Twentieth-Century Shakespeare Text’, in Shakespeare and Cultural Traditions, ed. Tetsuo Kishi, Roger Pringle and Stanley Wells (London: Associated University Presses, 1994), pp. 314–22.
Moyles, R. G., ‘Edward Capell (1713–1781) as Editor of Paradise Lost, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 6 (1975), 252–61.
Murphy, Andrew, ‘The Birth of the Editor’, in A Concise Companion to Shakespeare and the Text, ed. Murphy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 93–108.
Murphy, Andrew, Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
Murphy, Andrew, ‘ “To ferret out any hidden corruption”: Shakespearean Editorial Metaphors’, Text: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies, 10 (1997), 202–19.
Nichols, John (ed.), ‘Shakespearian Correspondence of Mr. Lewis Theobald, Dr. Thirlby, and Mr. Warburton’, in Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols. (London: Nichols & Son, 1817–58), vol. Ii, pp. 189–654.
Nicoll, Allardyce, ‘The Editors of Shakespeare from First Folio to Malone’, in Studies in the First Folio (London: H. Milford for Oxford University Press, 1924), pp. 157–78.
Orgel, Stephen, The Authentic Shakespeare, University of Tasmania Occasional Paper 46 ([Hobart:] University of Tasmania, 1987); repr. as ‘The Authentic Shakespeare’, Representations, 21 (1988), 1–25.
Osselton, N. E., ‘Nicholas Rowe and the Glossing of Shakespeare’, in Shakespearean Continuities: Essays in Honour of E. A. J. Honigmann, ed. John Batchelor, Tom Cain and Claire Lamont (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martins, 1997), pp. 277–89.
Parker, Graham Frederick, Johnson's Shakespeare (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).
Paul, J. Gavin, ‘Performance as “Punctuation”: Editing Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century’, Review of English Studies, 61 (2010), 390–413.
Prior, James, Life of Edmond Malone: Editor of Shakespeare: With Selections from His Manuscript Anecdotes (London: Smith, Elder, 1860).
Rasmussen, Eric, and AaronSantesso (eds.), Comparative Excellence: New Essays on Shakespeare and Johnson (New York: AMS Press, 2007).
Roberts, Sydney, Richard Farmer (1735–1797), Arundell Esdaile Memorial Lecture (London: The Library Association, 1961).
Santor, Gefen Bar-On, ‘The Culture of Newtonianism and Shakespeare's Editors: From Pope to Johnson’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 21 (2009), 593–614.
Scouten, Arthur H., ‘Designation of Locale in Shakespeare's Texts’, Essays in Theatre, 2 (1983), 41–55.
Seary, Peter, ‘Language versus Design in Drama: A Background to the Pope-Theobald Controversy’, University of Toronto Quarterly, 42 (1972), 40–63.
Seary, Peter, Lewis Theobald and the Editing of Shakespeare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990).
Sherbo, Arthur, The Achievement of George Steevens (New York: Peter Lang, 1990).
Sherbo, Arthur, The Birth of Shakespeare Studies: Commentators from Rowe (1709) to Boswell-Malone (1821) (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1986).
Sherbo, Arthur, ‘Dr. Johnson on Macbeth: 1745 and 1765’, Review of English Studies, n.s. 2 (1951), 40–7.
Sherbo, Arthur, ‘From the Sale Catalogues of the Libraries of Dr. Richard Farmer, George Steevens, and Isaac Reed’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 96.3 (2002), 381–403.
Sherbo, Arthur, Isaac Reed: Editorial Factotum (Victoria, BC: English Literary Studies, University of Victoria, 1989).
Sherbo, Arthur, Richard Farmer, Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge, a Forgotten Shakespearean (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1992).
Sherbo, Arthur, Samuel Johnson: Editor of Shakespeare, Illinois Studies in Language and Literature 42 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1956).
Sherbo, Arthur, Shakespeare's Midwives: Some Neglected Shakespeareans (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1992).
Siebert, Jr, DonaldT., ‘The Scholar as Satirist: Johnson's Edition of Shakespeare’, Studies in English Literature, 15 (1975), 483–503.
Smith, John Hazel, ‘Styan Thirlby's Shakespearean Commentaries: A Corrective Analysis’, Shakespeare Studies, 11 (1978), 219–41.
Spencer, Christopher, and JohnW.Velz, ‘Styan Thirlby: A Forgotten “Editor” of Shakespeare’, Shakespeare Studies, 6 (1970), 327–33.
Stock, Robert D., Samuel Johnson and Neoclassical Dramatic Theory: The Intellectual Context of the Preface to Shakespeare (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1973).
Sutherland, James R.‘The Dull Duty of an Editor’, Review of English Studies, 21 (1945), 202–15.
Velz, John W., ‘ “Pirate Hills” and the Quartos of Julius Caesar, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 63 (1969), 177–93.
Velz, John W., ‘Research in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Editions of Shakespeare’, Literary Research Newsletter, 2 (1977), 47–58.
Walker, Alice, ‘Edward Capell and his Edition of Shakespeare’, in Studies in Shakespeare: British Academy Lectures, ed. Peter Alexander (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 132–48.
Walsh, Marcus, Arguments of Wit and Sense: Eighteenth-Century Literary Editing and the Problem of Textual Knowledge (University of Birmingham School of Humanities, 2000).
Walsh, Marcus, ‘Eighteenth-Century Editing, “Appropriation”, and Interpretation’, Shakespeare Survey 51 (1998), 125–39.
Walsh, Marcus, ‘Form and Function in the English Eighteenth-Century Literary Edition: The Case of Edward Capell’, Studies in Bibliography, 54 (2001), 225–42.
Walsh, Marcus, ‘Literary Scholarship and the Life of Editing’, in Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England: New Essays, ed. Isabel Rivers (Leicester University Press, 1982), pp. 191–215.
Walsh, Marcus, Shakespeare, Milton, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Editing: The Beginnings of Interpretative Scholarship (Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Walton, James K., ‘Edmond Malone: An Irish Shakespeare Scholar’, Hermathena: A Trinity College Dublin Review, 99 (1964), 5–26.
Warner, Beverley (ed.), Famous Introductions to Shakespeare's Plays by the Notable Editors of the Eighteenth Century (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1906).
West, Anthony James, ‘The Life of the First Folio in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in A Concise Companion to Shakespeare and the Text, ed. Andrew Murphy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 71–90.
Woodson, William C., ‘The 1785 Variorum Shakespeare’, Studies in Bibliography, 28 (1975), 318–20.
Woodson, William C., ‘Isaac Reed's 1785 Variorum Shakespeare’, Studies in Bibliography, 39 (1986), 220–9.

2 Eighteenth-century critical commentary

Critical commentary on Shakespeare by eighteenth-century writers is extensive, and the volume of printed commentary grew markedly in the second half of the period. As a result, several categories of material have necessarily been excluded from this checklist: reviews and essays in newspapers and periodicals (with some exceptions); poems on Shakespeare or poetic passages that refer to him; and passing mentions or brief discussions in texts written on other subjects. For further details on publications in newspapers and periodicals, see section 2.4, ‘Periodical essays and performance reviews’, below, p. 381. See also section 3.3, below, where a number of titles that focus primarily on matters of staging and performance are listed.

Most of the texts listed here are now available in digitized facsimile form in Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Cengage, (subscription).

2.1 A chronological checklist of eighteenth-century critical works

Restoration critical statements

Several significant Restoration critical works are noted here because of their importance to subsequent critical discussion.

Rymer, Thomas, The Tragedies of the Last Age Consider’d and Examin’d by the Practice of the Ancients, and by the Common Sense of All Ages (London: Richard Tonson, 1677). Rymer expounds a French neoclassical, rule-based view of tragedy. These rules, he finds, have been unwisely ignored by English Renaissance tragedians. This text focusses on Beaumont and Fletcher, but Rymer promises to extend his analysis to Shakespeare (see A Short View of Tragedy, below).
Dryden, John, ‘Heads of an Answer to Rymer’, in The Works of Mr. Francis Beaumont, and Mr. John Fletcher, 7 vols. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1711), vol. I, pp. xii–xxvi. First published after Dryden's death in the Preface to Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher.
Dryden, John, ‘The Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy’, in Troilus and Cressida, or, Truth Found Too Late (London: Abel Swall and Jacob Tonson, 1679), sig. a1v–b2v.
Rymer, Thomas, A Short View of Tragedy; It's Original, Excellency, and Corruption. With Some Reflections on Shakespear, and Other Practitioners for the Stage (London: Richard Baldwin, 1693). A more extended generic history of tragedy, concluding with Rymer's attack on Othello. He influenced the critical work of Collier, Dennis, Gildon and others, and his uncompromising views prompted such champions of English drama as Dryden, Farquhar and Addison to enter the critical lists.
Dennis, John, The Impartial Critick: or, Some Observations upon a Late Book, Entituled, A Short View of Tragedy, Written by Mr. Rymer (London: R. Taylor, 1693).
Gildon, Charles, ‘Some Reflections on Mr. Rymer's Short View of Tragedy and an Attempt at a Vindication of Shakespear, in an Essay Directed to John Dryden Esq.’, in Miscellaneous Letters and Essays on Several Subjects in Prose and Verse (London: Benjamin Bragg, 1694), pp. 64–118.
Collier, Jeremy, A Short View of the Immorality, and Prophaneness of the English Stage, Together with the Sense of Antiquity upon This Argument (London: S. Keble, R. Sare & H. Hindmarsh, 1698). Shakespeare is mentioned only in passing, but Collier's attack on the allegedly prevalent atmosphere of obscenity, blasphemy and sexual innuendo in Restoration drama set the tone for eighteenth-century productions and adaptations of Shakespeare. As the title suggests, with its echo of A Short View of Tragedy, Rymer heavily influenced Collier's style of attack, as well as his critical principles.


Farquhar, George, ‘A Discourse upon Comedy, in Reference to the English Stage’, in Love and Business: in a Collection of Occasionary Verse, and Eipistolary [sic] Prose (London: B. Lintott, 1702), pp. 112–59. A spirited attack on Aristotle and the neoclassical unities that anticipates later critical arguments in vindication of Shakespeare.
Rowe, Nicholas, ‘Some Account of the Life & c. of Mr. William Shakespear’, in The Works of Mr. William Shakespear, ed. Nicholas Rowe, 6 vols. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1709), vol. I, pp. i–xl. The earliest biography of any significance; it set the standard for much of the century.
Gildon, Charles, ‘An Essay on the Art, Rise, and Progress of the Stage in Greece, Rome and England’ and ‘Remarks on the Plays of Shakespeare’, in The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. Volume the Seventh (London: E. Curll and E. Sanger, 1710), pp. i–lxvi and 256–464.
Addison, Joseph, and Richard Steele, The Spectator (1711–14), passim. See in particular nos. 40, 44, 161, 592.
Dennis, John, An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespear: with Some Letters of Criticism to the Spectator (London: Bernard Lintott, 1712). Takes issue with Addison's sceptical views about poetic justice.
Hughes, John, The Guardian, 37 (27 April 1713).
Theobald, Lewis, The Censor, London: 1715, 1717. A thrice-weekly periodical essay, in two series: 11 April 1715 to 17 June 1715, and 1 January 1717 to 30 May 1717. See nos. 7, 10, 36, 70.
Purney, Thomas, Preface to Pastorals. Viz. The Bashful Swain: and Beauty and Simplicity (London: Jonas Brown, 1717), sig. A4rB3v. Defends Shakespeare and English tragedy against critical preferences for French formalism.
Jacob, Giles, ‘Mr. William Shakespear’, in The Poetical Register: or, the Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets. With an Account of their Writings, 2 vols. (London: E. Curll, 1719), vol. I, pp. 226–36.
Pope, Alexander, Preface to The Works of Shakespear, ed. Alexander Pope, 6 vols. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1723–5), vol. I, pp. i–xli.
Sewell, Dr, Preface to The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. The Seventh Volume (London: A. Bettesworth et al., 1725), pp. vii–xv.
Theobald, Lewis, Shakespeare Restored: or a Specimen of the Many Errors, as Well Committed, as Unamended, by Mr. Pope in His Late Edition of This Poet (London, 1726). The first thoroughgoing textual examination of Shakespeare's plays.
Roberts, John [attrib.], An Answer to Mr. Pope's Preface to Shakespear. In a Letter to a Friend. Being a Vindication of the Old Actors Who Were the Publishers and Performers of That Author's Plays. Whereby the Errors of their Edition are Further Accounted for, and some Memoirs of Shakespear and Stage-History of His Time Are Inserted, Which Were Never Before Collected and Publish’d. By a Stroling Player (London, 1729). An account of the early publication history of the plays and the role played by Shakespeare's theatrical colleagues. Defends their editorial work against Pope's aspersions.


Cooke, Thomas, ‘Considerations on the Stage, and on the Advantages Which Arise to a Nation from the Encouragement of Arts’, in The Triumphs of Love and Honour, a Play (London: J. Roberts, 1731), pp. 47–57. A defence of the morality of the stage, using, among other examples, Tate's King Lear as a case in point.
Theobald, Lewis, Preface to The Works of Shakespeare, ed. Lewis Theobald, 7 vols. (London: A. Bettesworth et al., 1733), pp. i–lxviii. The notes throughout the edition are of great critical value.
Birch, Thomas, ‘Shakespeare, William’, in Pierre Bayle, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, 10 vols. (London: G. Strahan et al., 1734), vol. Ix, pp. 186–99. A biographical account, based on Rowe. Birch also used critical and scholarly notes supplied by Warburton.
Some Remarks on the Tragedy of Hamlet (London: W. Wilkins, 1736). Attributed variously to George Stubbes or Thomas Hanmer.
Peck, Francis, ‘Explanatory and Critical Notes on Divers Passages of Shakespeare's Plays’ and ‘A New Catalogue of the Several Editions of Shakespeare's Writings’, in New Memoirs of the Life and Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton (London, 1740), pp. 222–64.
Morris, Corbyn, An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Raillery, Satire, and Ridicule. To Which Is Added, an Analysis of the Characters of An Humourist, Sir John Falstaff, Sir Roger De Coverly, and Don Quixote (London: J. Roberts, 1744).
Johnson, Samuel, Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth: with Remarks on Sir T. H.'s Edition of Shakespear. To which Is Affix’d, Proposals for a New Edition of Shakeshear [sic], with a Specimen (London: E. Cave, 1745).
Upton, John, Critical Observations on Shakespeare (London: G. Hawkins, 1746). A collection of philological comments on Shakespeare. A second edition, issued in 1748, contains a Preface critiquing Warburton's 1747 edition of Shakespeare.
Anon., ‘An Enquiry into the Nature of the Passions, and the Manner in Which They Are Represented by the Tragick Poets, Particularly with Respect to Jealousy; Including Some Observations on Shakespear's Othello, The Museum: or the Literary and Historical Register, 38 (29 August 1747), 437–42.
Anon., An Examen of the New Comedy, Call’d The Suspicious Husband. With Some Observations upon Our Dramatick Poetry and Authors (London: J. Roberts, 1747). In part a response to Foote's A Treatise on the Passions (see below in section 3.3).
Guthrie, William, An Essay upon English Tragedy. With Remarks upon the Abbe de Blanc's Observations on the English Stage (London: T. Waller [1747?]).
Warburton, William, Preface to The Works of Shakespear in Eight Volumes, ed. William Warburton, 8 vols. (London: J. and P. Knapton et al., 1747), vol. I, pp. vii–xxviii. See also Warburton's notes throughout. This edition caused considerable controversy; see the responses of John Upton, Thomas Edwards and Zachary Grey.
Whincop, Thomas, ‘Mr. William Shakespear’, in Scanderbeg: or, Love and Liberty. A Tragedy. To Which Are Added a List of All the Dramatic Authors, with Some Account of Their Lives; and of All the Dramatic Pieces Ever Published in the English Language (London: W. Reeve, 1747), pp. 138–47. A biographical account based on Rowe, with additions.
Edwards, Thomas, A Supplement to Mr. Warburton's Edition of Shakespear. Being the Canons of Criticism, and Glossary, Collected from the Notes in that Celebrated Work, and Proper to Be Bound up with It (London: M. Cooper, 1748). An attack on Warburton's editorial methods.
Grey, Zachary, An Answer to Certain Passages in Mr. W—'s Preface to his Edition of Shakespeare, together with Some Remarks on the Many Errors . . . in the Work Itself (London: H. Carpenter, 1748). An attack on Warburton's edition.
Whalley, Peter, An Enquiry into the Learning of Shakespeare, with Remarks on Several Passages of His Plays. In a Conversation between Eugenius and Neander (London: T. Waller, 1748).


Holt, John, An Attempte to Rescue that Aunciente, English Poet, and Play-wrighte, Maister Williaume Shakespere; from the Maney Errours, Faulsely Charged on Him, by Certaine New-fangled Wittes; and to Let Him Speak for Himself, as Right Well He Wotteth, When Freede from the Many Careless Mistakeings, of the Heedless First Imprinters, of his Workes (London: Printed for the author, 1749); repr. as Remarks on The Tempest: or an Attempt to Rescue Shakespear from the Many Errors Falsely Charged on Him, by his Several Editors. To Which Is Prefixed, a Short Account of the Story . . . of the Play; as a Plan, for a New Edition (London: Printed for the author, 1750).
Grey, Zachary, A Free and Familiar Letter to that Great Refiner of Pope and Shakespeare, the Rev. Mr. W. Warburton (London: G. Jones, 1750).
Johnson, Samuel, The Rambler (London, 1750–1). See in particular nos. 72, 156 and 168.
Murphy, Arthur[‘Theatricus’], ‘Free Remarks on the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, in The Student: or the Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany, 2 (November 1750), 58–64.
Seward, Thomas, Preface to The Works of Mr. Francis Beaumont, and Mr. John Fletcher, 10 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1750), vol. I, pp. v–lxxvi. Seward has a good deal to say along the way about Shakespeare, and he defends Theobald's editing skill.
Chetwood, William Rufus, ‘Mr. William Shakespear’, in The British Theatre. Containing the Lives of the English Dramatic Poets; with an Account of Their Plays (London: R. Baldwin, 1752), pp. 8–17.
Dodd, William, The Beauties of Shakespear: Regularly Selected from Each Play. With a General Index, Digesting Them under Proper Heads. Illustrated with Explanatory Notes, and Similar Passages from Ancient and Modern Authors, 2 vols. (London: T. Waller, 1752). A popular anthology of selected passages, with notes and a thematic index. Republished frequently during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Grey, Zachary, An Examination of a Late Edition of Shakespear: Wherein Several Plagiarisms Are Taken Notice of, and the Late Sir Tho. Hanmer, Bart. Vindicated. Addressed to the Reverend Mr. Warburton (London: C. Norris, 1752); repr. as Remarks upon a Late Edition of Shakespear: with a Long String of Emendations Borrowed by the Celebrated Editor, from the Oxford Edition, without Acknowledgment. To Which Is Prefixed, a Defence of the Late Sir Thomas Hanmer, Bart. Addressed to the Reverend Mr. Warburton (London: C. Morris [i.e. Norris], 1755).
Johnson, Samuel, and John Hawkesworth, The Adventurer (London, 1752–4). A semi-weekly periodical essay published 7 November 1752 to 9 March 1754. Includes discussion of Shakespeare: see George Colman's contribution, no. 90; and Joseph Warton's contributions, nos. 93, 97, 116, 132.
Anon., Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. With a Preface, Containing Some General Remarks on the Writings of Shakespeare (London: W. Clarke, 1752).
Cibber, Theophilus, ‘William Shakespear’, in The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, to the Time of Dean Swift, 5 vols. (London: R. Griffiths, 1753), vol. I, pp. 123–43. Compiled mainly by Robert Shiels, with additions by Cibber.
Lennox, Charlotte, Shakespear Illustrated: or the Novels and Histories, on Which the Plays of Shakespear Are Founded, Collected and Translated from the Original Authors. With Critical Remarks, 3 vols. (London: A. Millar, 1753–4). A pioneering source study.
Grey, Zachary, Critical, Historical, and Explanatory Notes on Shakespeare, with Emendations of the Text and Metre, 2 vols. (London: R. Manby, 1754). A defence of Theobald and Hanmer against attacks by Pope and Warburton.
The Novel from Which the Play of The Merchant of Venice, written by Shakespeare, Is Taken. Translated from the Italian (London: M. Cooper, 1755).
Brooke, Frances, Old Maid, 18 (13 March 1756). Remarks on King Lear.
Johnson, Samuel, Proposals for Printing, by Subscription, the Dramatick Works of William Shakespeare [London, 1756].
Smart, Christopher, ‘A Brief Enquiry into the Learning of Shakespear’, Universal Visiter and Memorialist, 3 (March 1756), 126–32.
Hurd, Richard, A Letter to Mr. Mason; on the Marks of Imitation (Cambridge: W. Thurlbourn & J. Woodyer, 1757). A study of the linguistic signs of poetic imitation; Shakespeare is cited along the way as a writer in whose works these signs are relatively absent. See also Hurd's notes in his editions of Horace, Q. Horatii Flacci Ars Poetica. Epistola ad Pisones. With an English Commentary and Notes (London: W. Bowyer, 1749; repr. 1753 with additions); and Q. Horatii Flacci Epistola ad Augustum. With an English Commentary and Notes. To Which Is Added, a Discourse Concerning Poetical Imitation (London: W. Thurlbourn, 1751).
Armstrong, John, ‘Of the Versification of English Tragedy’ and excerpts from ‘Sentences’, in Sketches: or Essays on Various Subjects (London: A. Millar, 1758), pp. 39–44, 81–5.
Roderick, Richard, Remarks collected by Thomas Edwards in the sixth edition of The Canons of Criticism, and Glossary, Being a Supplement to Mr. Warburton's Edition of Shakespear (London: C. Bathurst, 1758), pp. 212–38.
Wilkes, Thomas, A General View of the Stage (London: J. Coote, 1759).


Capell, Edward (ed.), Prolusions; or, Select Pieces of Ancient Poetry, – Compil’d with Great Care from Their Several Originals, and Offer’d to the Publick as Specimens of the Integrity That Should Be Found in the Editions of Worthy Authors (London: J. and R. Tonson, 1760). Among the texts included by Capell is ‘Edward the Third, a Play, Thought to be Writ by Shakespeare’.
Fitzpatrick, Thaddeus, An Enquiry into the Real Merit of a Certain Popular Performer. In a Series of Letters, First Published in the Craftsman or Gray's-Inn Journal (London: M. Thrush, 1760). Criticism of Garrick's manner of speaking and delivering his lines.
Francklin, Thomas, A Dissertation on Antient Tragedy [London, 1760]. At the conclusion of this short volume Francklin asserts the superiority of Shakespearean over classical tragedy.
Colman, George, Critical Reflections on the Old English Dramatick Writers; Intended as a Preface to the Works of Massinger (London: T. Davies, 1761).
Victor, Benjamin, The History of the Theatres of London and Dublin, from the Year 1730 to the Present Time. To Which Is Added, an Annual Register of all the Plays, &c. Performed at the Theatres-Royal in London, from the Year 1712, 2 vols. (London: T. Davieset al., 1761). Details about the theatre history of the time, with comments on some performances and adaptations of Shakespeare.
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), Critical Essays on Dramatic Poetry. By Monsieur de Voltaire. With Notes by the Translator (London: L. Davis and C. Reymers, 1761). Contains some of Voltaire's famously critical pronouncements on Shakespeare.
Kames, HenryHome, Lord, Elements of Criticism, 3 vols. (London: A. Millar; Edinburgh: A. Kincaid & J. Bell, 1762). Includes considerable critical commentary on Shakespeare.
Mortimer, Thomas, ‘The Life of William Shakespear’, in The British Plutarch; or, Biographical Entertainer, 12 vols. (London: Edward Dilly, 1762), vol. v, pp. 1–28.
Webb, Daniel, Remarks on the Beauties of Poetry (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1762). Extensive discussion of the prosody and imagery of Shakespeare and Milton.
Nichols, Philip, The Castrated Letter of Sir Thomas Hanmer . . . Wherein Is Discovered the First Rise of the Present Bishop of Gloucester's Quarrel with That Bart. about His Edition of Shakespeare's Plays (London: Printed for the author, 1763).
Heath, Benjamin, A Revisal of Shakespeare's Text, Wherein the Alterations Introduced into It by the More Modern Editors and Critics Are Particularly Considered (London: W. Johnston, 1765). A reappraisal of the emendations of eighteenth-century editors and critics, especially Hanmer and Warburton.
Johnson, Samuel, Preface and Notes to The Plays of William Shakespeare, ed. Samuel Johnson, 8 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson et al., 1765), vol. I, pp. v–lxxii.
Kenrick, William, A Review of Doctor Johnson's New Edition of Shakespeare: in Which the Ignorance, or Inattention, of That Editor Is Exposed, and the Poet Defended from the Persecution of His Commentators (London: J. Payne, 1765). Kenrick also published a negative review in the Monthly Review, 33 (October–November 1765).
Walpole, Horace, Preface to the Second Edition, The Castle of Otranto, a Gothic Story (London: William Bathoe and Thomas Lowndes, 1765). Defends Shakespeare against Voltaire's strictures on mixing tragedy and comedy.
Barclay, James, An Examination of Mr. Kenrick's Review of Mr. Johnson's Edition of Shakespeare (London: W. Johnston, 1766). A defence of Johnson's edition.
Kenrick, William, A Defence of Mr. Kenrick's Review of Dr. Johnson's Shakespeare: Containing a Number of Curious and Ludicrous Anecdotes of Literary Biography (London: S. Bladon, 1766).
Steevens, George, ‘Advertisement to the Reader’, Preface to Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare, Being the Whole Number Printed in Quarto During His Life-time . . . Collated Where There Were Different Copies, and Publish’d from the Originals, by George Steevens, Esq, ed. George Steevens, 4 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson, T. Payne and W. Richardson, 1766), vol. I, pp. 5–20.
Steevens, George, ‘Shakespeare. To the Public’ (London, 1 February 1766). Proposals for a new edition of Shakespeare, printed as a four-page broadsheet.
Tyrwhitt, Thomas, Observations and Conjectures upon Some Passages of Shakespeare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1766).
Farmer, Richard, An Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare (Cambridge: W. Thurlbourn and J. Woodyer, 1767); repr. as The Second Edition, with Large Additions (Cambridge: J. Woodyer, 1767).
Capell, Edward, Introduction to Mr. William Shakespeare His Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, ed. Edward Capell, 10 vols. (London: J. and R. Tonson, 1768),vol. I, pp. 1–74.
Colman, George, Appendix to The Comedies of Terence, Translated into Familiar Blank Verse, 2nd edn, 2 vols. (London: T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt; and R. Baldwin, 1768), vol. Ii, pp. 389–94. Critique of Richard Farmer's views on Shakespeare's learning.
Warner, Richard, A Letter to David Garrick, Esq. Concerning a Glossary to the Plays of Shakespeare, on a More Extensive Plan than Has Hitherto Appeared. To Which Is Annexed, a Specimen (London: Printed for the author, 1768).
Montagu, Elizabeth, An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, Compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets. With Some Remarks upon the Misrepresentations of Mons. de Voltaire (London: J. Dodsley et al., 1769).


Duff, William, ‘Of Shakespeare’, in Critical Observations on the Writings of the Most Celebrated Original Geniuses in Poetry (London: T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt, 1770), pp. 126–96.
Hiffernan, Paul, Dramatic Genius (London: Printed for the author, 1770).
Jennens, Charles, Preface and Notes to King Lear. A Tragedy. By William Shakespeare. Collated with the Old and Modern Editions (London: Printed by W. and J. Richardson, 1770).
Jennens, CharlesThe Tragedy of King Lear, as Lately Published, Vindicated from the Abuse of the Critical Reviewers (London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, 1772).
Steevens, George, ‘Advertisement to the Reader’ and Notes toThe Plays of William Shakespeare, ed. Samuel Johnson and George Steevens, 10 vols. (London: C. Bathurst et al., 1773).
Anon., Shakespeare. Containing the Traits of his Characters (London: Printed for the author, [1774?]).
Kenrick, William, Introduction to the School of Shakespeare; Held, on Wednesday Evenings, in the Apollo, at the Devil Tavern, Temple Bar (London: Printed for the author, 1774). The lectures were reviewed in the Monthly Miscellany, February–April 1774.
Prescot, Kenrick, Shakespear ([London?:] privately printed, 1774).
Prescot, KenrickRichardson, William, A Philosophical Analysis and Illustration of Some of Shakespeare's Remarkable Characters (London: J. Murray, 1774). Considers Macbeth, Hamlet, Jaques and Imogen.
Taylor, Edward, Cursory Remarks on Tragedy, on Shakespear, and on Certain French and Italian Poets, Principally Tragedians (London: W. Owen, 1774). The English Short-Title Catalogue notes that this work is ‘Sometimes also attributed to William Richardson, Professor of Humanity at Glasgow, and also to Joseph Ritson.’
Cooke, William, The Elements of Dramatic Criticism. Containing an Analysis of the Stage, under the Following Heads, Tragedy, Tragi-Comedy, Comedy, Pantomime, and Farce (London: G. Kearsly and G. Robinson, 1775).
Griffith, Elizabeth, The Morality of Shakespeare's Drama Illustrated (London: T. Cadell, 1775).
Collins, John, A Letter to George Hardinge, Esq. on the Subject of a Passage in Mr. Stevens's Preface to His Impression of Shakespeare (London: G. Kearsly, 1777). A defence of Edward Capell against George Steevens's dismissal of the value of Capell's edition of Shakespeare.
Morgann, Maurice, An Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff (London: T. Davies, 1777).
Malone, Edmond, ‘An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays Attributed to Shakespeare Were Written’, in The Plays of William Shakespeare: With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators, ed. Samuel Johnson and George Steevens, with Isaac Reed, 2nd edn, 10 vols. (London: C. Bathurst, W. Strachan et al., 1778), vol. I, pp. 269–346.
Capell, Edward, Catalogue of Mr. Capell's Shakesperiana; Presented by Him to Trinity College, Cambridge, and Printed from an Exact Copy of His Own MS. ([London,] 1779).
Capell, EdwardThe School of Shakespeare; or Authentick Extracts from Divers English Books, That Were in Print in That Author's Time. Published as vol. Iii of Notes and Various Readings to Shakespeare, 3 vols. (London: Henry Hughs, 1779–83).
Mackenzie, Henry, The Mirror (Edinburgh: W. Creech, 1779–80). A periodical from 23 January 1779 to 27 May 1780, conducted by Henry Mackenzie. Three numbers are devoted to Shakespeare: (1) an essay on tragedy in no. 54 (31 July 1779); (2) an essay by William Richardson on Richard III's wooing of Lady Anne in no. 66 (25 December 1779); and (3) an essay by Mackenzie on the character of Hamlet in nos. 99–100 (18–22 April 1780). Mackenzie followed The Mirror with The Lounger (Edinburgh: William Creech, 1785–7), in which two essays are devoted to Shakespeare: nos. 68 and 69 (20 and 27 May 1786).
Nichols, John (ed.), Six Old Plays, on Which Shakspeare Founded His Measure for Measure. Comedy of Errors. Taming the Shrew. King John. K. Henry IV. and K. Henry V. King Lear, 2 vols. (London: S. Leacroft, 1779).
Steevens, George, in the St. James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post, 13 March 1779. An essay on the harmful effects of altering Shakespeare for stage performance.


Malone, Edmond, Supplement to the Edition of Shakspeare's Plays Published in 1778 by S. Johnson and G. Steevens, 2 vols. (London: C. Bathurst, W. Strahan et al., 1780). Vol. I contains supplemental observations on the plays, an account of the Elizabethan theatre, a republication of the source for Romeo and Juliet, and several poems by Shakespeare. Vol. Ii includes the seven apocryphal plays published in the fourth Folio of 1685 and examines the question of their authenticity.
Anon., ‘A Dialogue between Two Theatrical Heroes of Shakespeare and Corneille’, London Magazine, 51 (November 1782), 513–15.
Stedman, John, ‘Letter XVI. To Hortensia’, in Lælius and Hortensia; or, Thoughts on the Nature and Objects of Taste and Genius (Edinburgh: J. Balfour and T. Cadell, 1782). A discussion of Shakespeare and tragedy.
Walwyn, B., An Essay on Comedy (London: M. Hookham, Miss Davis, J. Fielding, 1782).
Malone, Edmond, A Second Appendix to Mr. Malone's Supplement to the Last Edition of the Plays of Shakspeare (London, 1783). Additional notes on Shakespeare.
Ritson, Joseph, Remarks, Critical and Illustrative on the Text and Notes of the Last Edition of Shakspeare (London: J. Johnston, 1783).
Richardson, William, Essays on Shakespeare's Dramatic Characters of Richard the Third, King Lear, and Timon of Athens. To Which Are Added, an Essay on the Faults of Shakespeare and Additional Observations on the Character of Hamlet (London, J. Murray, 1784).
Mason, John Monck, Comments on the Last Edition of Shakespeare's Plays (Dublin: P. Byrne, 1785).
Pinkerton, John[‘Robert Heron’], ‘XVIII. Remarks on the last edition of Shakspere's Plays 1778’, ‘XXVI. Continuation of the Remarks’, and ‘XXXVIII. Conclusion of the Remarks’, in Letters of Literature (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1785), pp. 105–16, 162–78, 301–15.
Whately, Thomas, Remarks on Some of the Characters of Shakespeare (London: T. Payne and Son, 1785). Focusses particularly on Macbeth and Richard III.
Cumberland, Richard, The Observer: Being a Collection of Moral, Literary and Familiar Essays, 5 vols. (London: C. Dilly, 1786–90). The essays devoted to Shakespeare are nos. 55–8 in vol. Ii (pp. 225–65), no. 86 in vol. Iii (pp. 242–50), and no. 109 in vol. Iv (pp. 136–47). In nos. 55–8, Cumberland takes up the characters of Macbeth and Richard III.
Kemble, John Philip, Macbeth Reconsidered; an Essay (London: T. and J. Egerton, 1786). A response to Whately's Remarks.
Sherlock, Martin, A Fragment on Shakspeare, Extracted from Advice to a Young Poet (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1786). The ‘Advice to a Young Poet’ is a work written by Sherlock in Italian and published at Naples in 1779.
Becket, Andrew, A Concordance to Shakespeare: Suited to All the Editions (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1787). Not a genuine concordance in the modern sense, but a collection of ‘beauties’ or passages organized alphabetically by theme.
Felton, Samuel, Imperfect Hints Towards a New Edition of Shakespeare, Written Chiefly in the Year 1782 (London: Printed for the author, 1787). Followed by Imperfect Hints Toward a New Edition of Shakespeare. Part Second and Last, London: Logographic Press, 1788.
Malone, Edmond, A Dissertation on the Three Parts of Henry VI, Tending to Shew that Those Plays Were not Written Originally by Shakespeare (London: Henry Baldwin, 1787).
Anon., ‘Observations on the First Act of Shakespear's Tempest, in The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: George Bonham, 1788), [Ii] 39–53 of a separately paginated section entitled ‘Polite Literature’.
Stack, Richard, ‘An Examination of an Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff’, in The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy (Dublin: George Bonham, 1788), [Ii] 3–38 of a separately paginated section entitled ‘Polite Literature’. Takes issue with Maurice Morgann's essay, published in 1777.
Ritson, Joseph, The Quip Modest, A Few Words by Way of Supplement to Remarks, Critical and Illustrative, on the Text and Notes of the Last Edition of Shakspeare; Occasioned by a Republication of that Edition, Revised and Augmented by the Editor of Dodsleys Old Plays (London: J. Johnson, 1788).
Anon., an essay on Julius Caesar, in The Lounger's Miscellany; or the Lucubrations of Abel Slug, Esq. (London: T. and J. Egerton, 1789), nos. 12 and 13, pp. 67–78.
‘Introduction, or an Essay on the Character of Sir John Falstaff’, in The Diverting History of the Life, Memorable Exploits, Pranks, and Droll Adventures, of the Heroic, Valiant and Renowned Sir John Falstaff of Facetious Memory (London: H. Lemoine, 1789).
Kemble, John Philip, A Short Criticism on the Performance of Hamlet (London: T. Hookham, 1789).
Richardson, William, Essays on Shakespeare's Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff, and on His Imitation of Female Characters. To Which Are Added, Some General Observations on the Study of Shakespeare (London: J Murray, 1789).


Malone, Edmond, Preface, ‘An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays of Shakspeare Were Written’, ‘Shakspeare, Ford, And Jonson’, ‘An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the English Stage, and of the Economy and Usages of Our Ancient Theatres’, and Notes, in The Plays and Poems of William Shakspeare, ed. Edmond Malone, 10 vols. in 11 parts (London: J. Rivington and Sons et al., 1790), vol. I, part 1, pp. i–lxxix, 261–386, 387–414; vol. I, part 2, pp. 1–284.
Robertson, Thomas, ‘An Essay on the Character of Hamlet, in Shakespeare's Tragedy of Hamlet, in Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: T. Cadell and J. Dickson, 1790), Ii, pp. 251–67 of a separately paginated section entitled, ‘Ii. Papers of the Literary Class’. The essay was read to the Society in1788.
Hurdis, James, Cursory Remarks upon the Arrangement of the Plays of Shakespear; Occasioned by Reading Mr. Malone'sEssay (London: J. Johnson, 1792). A wrong-headed attempt to redo the chronology of Shakespeare.
Malone, Edmond, A Letter to the Rev. Richard Farmer, D.D. Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Relative to the Edition of Shakespeare Published in MDCCXC (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson et al., 1792).
Ritson, Joseph, Cursory Criticisms on the Edition of Shakspeare Published by Edmond Malone (London: Printed for Hookham and Carpenter, 1792).
Steevens, George, Advertisement to The Plays of William Shakespeare, 4th edn, 15 vols. (London: T. Longman et al., 1793), vol. I, pp. i–xxxvi.
Whiter, Walter, A Specimen of a Commentary on Shakspeare (London, T. Cadell, 1794).
Parr, Wolstenholme, The Story of the Moor of Venice. Translated from the Italian. With Two Essays on Shakespeare, and Preliminary Observations (London: T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, 1795).
Boaden, James, A Letter to George Steevens, Esq. Containing a Critical Examination of the Papers of Shakspeare; Published by Mr. Samuel Ireland (London: Martin and Bain, 1796).
Ireland, Samuel, Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments under the Hand and Seal of William Shakspeare: Including the Tragedy of King Lear, and a Small Fragment of Hamlet, from the Original Mss. in the Possession of Samuel Ireland (London: Cooper and Graham et al., 1796). The documents published in this volume were exposed as forgeries, produced by Ireland's son, William Henry. The ensuing controversy sparked numerous publications (see below).
Ireland, SamuelMr. Ireland's Vindication of His Conduct, Respecting the Publication of the Supposed Shakspeare Mss. Being A Preface or Introduction to A Reply to the Critical Labors of Mr. Malone (London: Faulder and Robson et al., 1796).
Ireland, William Henry, An Authentic Account of the Shaksperian Manuscripts, &c. (London: J. Debrett, 1796).
Malone, Edmond, An Inquiry into the Authenticity of Certain Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments, Published Dec. 24, MDCCXCV. And Attributed to Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth and Henry, Earl of Southampton (London: H. Baldwin, 1796).
Oulton, Walley Chamberlain [attrib.], Precious Relics; or the Tragedy of Vortigern Rehearsed. A Dramatic Piece. In Two Acts. Written in Imitation of The Critic. As Performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drury Lane (London: Debret, Hookham and Clarke, 1796).
Plumptre, James, Observations on Hamlet (Cambridge: James Burges, 1796).
Waldron, Francis Godolphin, Free Reflections on Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments, under the Hand and Seal of William Shakspeare (London: Printed for the author, 1796).
Webb, Francis, Shakspeare's Manuscripts, in the Possession of Mr. Ireland, Examined, Respecting the Internal and External Evidences of their Authenticity (London: J. Johnson, 1796).
Wyatt, John, A Comparative Review of the Opinions of Mr. James Boaden . . . Relative to the Shakespeare Mss. (London: G. Sael, [1796]).
Plumptre, James, An Appendix to Observations on Hamlet (Cambridge: Printed by James Burges, 1797).
Chalmers, George, An Apology for The Believers in the Shakespeare-Papers, Which Were Exhibited in Norfolk-Street (London: Thomas Egerton, 1797).
Ireland, Samuel, An Investigation of Mr. Malone's Claim to the Character of Scholar, or Critic, Being an Examination of His Inquiry into the Authenticity of the Shakspeare Manuscripts (London: R Faulder et al., 1798?).
Chalmers, George, A Supplemental Apology for the Believers in the Shakspeare-Papers: Being a Reply to Mr. Malone's Answer (London: Thomas Egerton, 1799).
Ireland, William Henry, Vortigern, an Historical Tragedy, in Five Acts; Represented at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. and Henry the Second, an Historical Drama (London: J. Barker et al., [1799]).

2.2 Modern reprints of and guides to eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism

Allibone, S. Austin, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, 3 vols. (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1858–71). Contains a useful chronological list of eighteenth-century editions and critical studies, in vol. Ii, pp. 2006–54.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck, The Genesis of Shakespeare Idolatry, 1766–1799: A Study in English Criticism of the Late Eighteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1931). Babcock's checklist of eighteenth-century critical studies, on pp. 245–65, is to be used with caution, as numerous titles listed have only a tangential relevance to Shakespeare. Babcock also provides a checklist of secondary sources on eighteenth-century Shakespeare (down to 1931), on pp. 268–95.
Eighteenth-Century Shakespeare, gen. ed. Arthur Freeman, 26 vols. (London: Frank Cass; New York: A. M. Kelly, 1970–1). A series of facsimile reprints of Shakespeare criticism; the twenty-six volumes contain thirty-five texts.
JaggardWilliam, Shakespeare Bibliography: A Dictionary of Every Known Issue of the Writings of Our National Poet and of Recorded Opinion Thereon in the English Language (Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare Press, 1911).
Ralli, Augustus, History of Shakespearean Criticism, 2 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1932).
Robinson, Herbert Spencer, English Shakespearian Criticism in the Eighteenth Century (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1932). Contains a checklist of ‘English Shakesperian Criticism in the Eighteenth Century’ on pp. 259–61, and summaries of Robinson's analyses of these critical works on pp. 263–87.
Sherbo, Arthur, The Birth of Shakespeare Studies: Commentators from Rowe (1709) to Boswell-Malone (1821) (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1986).
Smith, David Nichol (ed.), Eighteenth-Century Essays on Shakespeare (Glasgow: J. MacLehose, 1903). A collection of prominent eighteenth-century critical statements.
Thompson, Ann, and SashaRoberts (eds.), Women Reading Shakespeare, 1660–1900: An Anthology of Criticism (Manchester University Press, 1997).
Vickers, Brian (ed.), Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage, 6 vols. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974–81). Contains extensive excerpts from works of eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism, along with invaluable introductions and notes.

2.3 Modern scholarly studies of eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism

Alexander, Catherine M. S., ‘Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century: Criticism and Research’, Shakespeare Survey 51 (1998), 1–15.
Argyros, Ellen, ‘ “Intruding Herself into the Chair of Criticism”: Elizabeth Griffith and The Morality of Shakespeare's Drama Illustrated’, in Eighteenth-Century Women and the Arts, ed. Frederick Keener and Susan E. Lorsch (New York: Greenwood, 1988), pp. 283–9.
Aycock, Roy E., ‘Shakespearian Criticism in the Gray's-InnJournal, Yearbook of English Studies, 2 (1972), 68–72.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck, ‘The Attitude toward Shakespeare's Learning in the Late Eighteenth Century’, Philological Quarterly, 9 (1930), 116–22.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck‘The Direct Influence of Late Eighteenth Century Shakespeare Criticism on Hazlitt and Coleridge’, Modern Language Notes, 45 (1930), 377–87.
Babcock, Robert WitbeckThe Genesis of Shakespeare Idolatry, 1766–1799: A Study in English Criticism of the Late Eighteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1931).
Babcock, Robert Witbeck‘A Preliminary Bibliography of Eighteenth-Century Criticism of Shakespeare’, Studies in Philology, 1 (1929), 58–76.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck‘A Secondary Bibliography of Shakespeare Criticism in the Eighteenth Century’, Studies in Philology, 1 (1929), 77–98.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck‘William Richardson's Criticism of Shakespeare’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 28 (1929), 117–36.
Binns, J. W., ‘Some Lectures on Shakespeare in Eighteenth-Century Oxford: The Praelectiones poeticae of William Hawkins’, in Shakespeare: Text, Language, Criticism. Essays in Honour of Marvin Spevack, ed. Bernhard Fabian and Kurt Tetzeli von Rosador (Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann, 1987), pp. 19–33.
Brockbank, Philip, ‘Shakespearean Scholarship: From Rowe to the Present’, in William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence, ed. John F. Andrews, 3 vols. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1985), vol. Iii, pp. 717–32.
Cannan, Paul D., The Emergence of Dramatic Criticism in England from Jonson to Pope (New York; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).
Conklin, Paul S., A History of Hamlet Criticism, 1601–1821 (New York: King's Crown, 1947).
Domenichelli, Mario, ‘Voltaire, Shakespeare, Baretti: The Last Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes’, in International Shakespeare, ed. Patricia Kennan and Mariangela Tempera (Bologna: CLUEB, 1996), pp. 127–41.
Doody, Margaret Anne, ‘Shakespeare's Novels: Charlotte Lennox Illustrated’, Studies in the Novel, 19 (1987), 296–310.
Eastman, Arthur M., ‘Shakespearean Criticism’, in William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence, ed. John F. Andrews, 3 vols. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1985), vol. Iii, pp. 733–56.
Eastman, Arthur M.A Short History of Shakespeare Criticism (New York: Random House, 1968).
Eger, Elizabeth, ‘ “Female Champions”: Women Critics of Shakespeare’, in Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 121–62.
Eger, Elizabeth‘ “Out rushed a female to protect the Bard”: The Bluestocking Defense of Shakespeare’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 65 (2002), 127–51.
Eger, Elizabeth(ed.), Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738–1785, vol. I: Elizabeth Montagu (London: Pickering & Chatto, 1999). Contains an annotated edition of An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear (pp. 1–113), as well as a detailed introduction.
Eliot, T. S., ‘Shakespearean Criticism from Dryden to Coleridge’, in A Companion to Shakespeare Studies (Cambridge University Press, 1934), pp. 287–99.
Engell, James, Forming the Critical Mind: Dryden to Coleridge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).
Fleischmann, Wolfgang Bernard, ‘Shakespeare, Johnson, and the Dramatic “Unities of Time and Place”’, in Essays in English Literature of the Classical Period Presented to Dougald Macmillan, ed. Daniel W. Patterson and Albrecht B. Strauss, Studies in Philology, e.s. 4 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1967), pp. 128–34.
Freedman, Sanford, ‘Character in a Coherent Fiction: On Putting King Lear Back Together Again’, Philosophy and Literature, 7 (1983), 196–212.
Freedman, Sanford‘The Wayward Path of the “Lunatic King”: Some Thoughts on the Progress of Shakespearean Criticism’, Studies in Language and Literature (Taipei), 2 (1986), 120–33.
Gallagher, Catherine, ‘Nobody's Credit: Fiction, Gender, and Authorial Property in the Career of Charlotte Lennox’, in Nobody's Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670–1820 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 145–202. Discusses Lennox's Shakespear Illustrated.
Geckle, George L., ‘Poetic Justice and Measure for Measure’, Costerus, n.s. 1 (1974), 95–111.
Gevirtz, Karen Bloom, ‘Ladies Reading and Writing: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers and the Gendering of Critical Discourse’, Modern Language Studies, 33 (2003), 60–72.
Green, Clarence C., The Neo-Classic Theory of Tragedy in England during the Eighteenth Century, Harvard Studies in English 9 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934).
Green, Susan, ‘A Cultural Reading of Charlotte Lennox's Shakespear Illustrated, in Cultural Readings of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century English Theater, ed. J. Douglas Canfield and Deborah C. Payne (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995), pp. 228–57.
Griffith, P. M., ‘Joseph Warton's Criticism of Shakespeare’, Tulane Studies in English, 14 (1965), 17–27.
Hardy, John, ‘The “Poet of Nature” and Self-Knowledge: One Aspect of Johnson's Moral Reading of Shakespeare’, University of Toronto Quarterly, 36 (1967), 141–60.
Hawley, Judith, ‘Shakespearean Sensibilities: Women Writers Reading Shakespeare, 1753–1808’, in Shakespearean Continuities: Essays in Honour of E. A. J. Honigmann, ed. John Batchelor, Tom Cain and Claire Lamont (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's, 1997), pp. 290–304. Discusses Lennox, Montagu and Griffith.
Hobsbaum, Philip, ‘King Lear in the Eighteenth Century’, Modern Language Review, 68 (1973), 494–506.
Holland, Peter, and AdrianPoole (gen. eds.), Great Shakespeareans, Set 1, 4 vols. to date (London: Continuum, 2010–). Vol. I, ed. Claude Rawson, covers Dryden, Pope, Johnson, Malone.
Homchaudhuri, Saradindu, Shakespeare Criticism: Dryden to Morgann (New Delhi: S. Chand, 1979).
Jones, Thora Burnley, and Bernardde Bear Nicol, Neo-Classical Dramatic Criticism, 1560–1770 (Cambridge University Press, 1976).
Kramnick, Jonathan Brody, ‘Reading Shakespeare's Novels: Literary History and Cultural Politics in the Lennox-Johnson Debate’, Modern Language Quarterly, 55 (1994), 429–53; repr. in Eighteenth-Century Literary History: An MLQ Reader, ed. Marshall Brown (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), pp. 43–67.
Krieger, Murray, ‘Fiction, Nature, and Literary Kinds in Johnson's Criticism of Shakespeare’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 4 (1971), 184–98.
Lee, Kyung-ook, ‘Character Criticism: From Psychological Interpretation to Organic View of Shakespeare’, Shakespeare Review, 37 (2001), 585–609.
Lovett, David, ‘Shakespeare as a Poet of Realism in the Eighteenth Century’, ELH, 2 (1935), 267–89.
Lovett, DavidShakespeare's Characters in Eighteenth-Century Criticism (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1935).
Marsden, Jean I., ‘The Individual Reader and the Canonized Text: Shakespeare Criticism after Johnson’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 17 (1993), 62–80.
Narasimhaiah, C. D., ‘Shakespeare in the XVIII Century: With Reference to the Middle Comedies’, Shakespeare Quatercentenary Volume (1963), 53–71.
Nath, Prem, Hamlet in the Eighteenth Century, 1701–1750: From John Dennis to Arthur Murphy’, Hamlet Studies, 6 (1984), 41–67.
Parker, Graham Frederick, Johnson's Shakespeare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).
Potter, Nicholas, Shakespeare's Late Plays: Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, Readers’ Guides to Essential Criticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
Raysor, Thomas M., ‘The Study of Shakespeare's Characters in the Eighteenth Century’, Modern Language Notes, 42 (1927), 495–500.
Ritchie, Fiona, ‘Elizabeth Montagu: “Shakespear's Poor Little Critick”?’Shakespeare Survey 58 (2005), 72–82.
Robinson, Herbert Spencer, English Shakespearian Criticism in the Eighteenth Century (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1932).
Runge, Laura L., ‘Aristotle's Sisters: Behn, Lennox, Fielding, and Reeve’, in Gender and Language in British Literary Criticism, 1660–1790 (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 121–67.
Sherbo, Arthur, ‘Thomas Pearne, of Peterhouse, Cambridge: Shakespeare Critic’, Notes and Queries, 55 (2008), 348–54.
Smallwood, Philip, ‘Shakespeare: Johnson's poet of nature’, in The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, ed. Greg Clingham (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 143–60.
Smith, David Nichol, Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928).
Stone, Jr, George Winchester, ‘David Garrick's Significance in the History of Shakespearean Criticism: A Study of the Impact of the Actor upon the Change of Critical Focus during the Eighteenth Century’, PMLA, 65 (1950), 183–97.
Tomarken, Edward, ‘The Comedy of the Graveyard Scene in Hamlet: Samuel Johnson Mediates between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries’, Eighteenth-Century Life, 8.3 (1983), 26–34.
Tomarken, EdwardSamuel Johnson on Shakespeare: The Discipline of Criticism (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991).
Vickers, Brian, ‘The Emergence of Character Criticism, 1774–1800’, Shakespeare Survey34 (1981), 11–21.
Wheeler, David, ‘Nameless Graces: Instances of Metaphor and Inadequacy in Early Eighteenth-Century Shakespearean Criticism’, Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association (1985), 81–90.
Whiter, Walter, A Specimen of a Commentary on Shakespeare: Being the Text of the First (1794) Edition Revised by the Author and Never Previously Published, ed. Alan Over and Mary Bell (London: Methuen, 1967).
Young, Karl, ‘Samuel Johnson on Shakespeare: One Aspect’, University of Wisconsin Studies in Language and Literature, 3rd ser., 18 (1923), 146–226. Discusses Lennox's Shakespear Illustrated.

2.4 Periodical essays and performance reviews

After mid-century, the modern practice of reviewing both books and theatrical productions evolved rapidly. Limitations of space make it impossible to include a comprehensive list of reviews here; instead, a listing is given of major periodicals and newspapers in which reviews are to be found, as well as modern critical and bibliographical guides to periodical essays and reviews. The reviews and essays themselves are now available in digitized facsimile form in the following electronic databases, which are fully searchable:

  • British Newspapers 1600–1900 (Gale Group). This database contains the British Library's extensive Burney Collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century newspapers.

  • British Periodicals (Ann Arbor, MI: Proquest Information and Learning). This database has extensive coverage of British periodicals from the 1680s onwards.

  • Eighteenth-Century Journals: A Portal to Newspapers and Periodicals, c. 1685–1815, ed. Jeremy Black, Brian Cowan, Kevin O’Neill and Laura Mandel (Marlborough, UK: Adam Matthew Publications, 2007–).

Major book review periodicals

These periodicals contain reviews of printed plays, collected editions of Shakespeare, and other books, including critical studies.

Monthly Review, ed. Ralph Griffiths (London: Ralph Griffiths, 1752–1825). Appeared 1749–1844.
Critical Review (London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1756–1817). Tobias Smollett led the journal for the first few years.
London Review of English and Foreign Literature, ed. William Kenrick et al. (London: Cox and Bigg, 1776–80). Appeared 1775–80.
English Review of Literature, Science, Discoveries, Inventions and Practical Controversies and Contests (London, 1783–96).
Analytical Review: or, History of Literature, ed. Thomas Christie (London: J. Johnson, 1788–99).
British Critic, ed. Robert Nares (London: F. and C. Rivington, 1793–1826). Appeared 1793–1843.
Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, or Monthly Political and Literary Censor (London: J. Whittle, 1798–1810). Appeared 1798–1821.

General magazines with occasional book reviews

Gentleman's Magazine or Monthly Intelligencer (London, 1731–5); Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle (London, 1736–1833). Edited by Edward Cave, 1731–54; subsequently by Richard Cave, David Henry, and John Nichols. Appeared 1731–1907.
London Magazine, or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer (1732–5); London Magazine and Monthly Chronologer (1736–46); London Magazine, or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer (1747–83); London Magazine Enlarged and Improved (1783–5). Appeared 1732–85.
European Magazine, and London Review (London: John Fielding, 1782–1826).
The Monthly Mirror: Reflecting Men and Manners: with Strictures on Their Epitome, the Stage (London: Printed for the proprietors, 1795–1811). Important for coverage of the Ireland Shakespeare forgeries.

2.5 Modern guides to eighteenth-century periodicals and reviews

Babcock, Robert Witbeck, The Genesis of Shakespeare Idolatry, 1766–1799: A Study in English Criticism of the Late Eighteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1931). Includes a list of eighteenth-century periodicals that contain performance reviews and articles on Shakespeare, pp. 265–7.
Crane, Ronald Salmon, and FrederickBenjamin Kaye, A Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620–1800 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press; London: Cambridge University Press, 1927).
Forster, Antonia, Index to Book Reviews in England, 1749–1774 (Carbondale; Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990). See also Forster's essay in this volume, pp. 60–77.
Forster, AntoniaIndex to Book Reviews in England, 1775–1800 (London: British Library, 1997).
Gray, Charles H., Theatrical Criticism in London to 1795 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931).
Jackson, Alfred, ‘Play Notices from the Burney Newspapers 1700–1703’, PMLA, 48 (1933), 815–49.
The London Stage, 1660–1800, 5 vols. in 11 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1960–8). This performance calendar notes commentary in the press on performances and important theatrical matters. For full reference details, see below, section 3.4.1.
Milford, R. T., and D. M. Sutherland, A Catalogue of English Newspapers and Periodicals in the Bodleian Library, 1622–1800 (Oxford Bibliographical Society at the Oxford University Press, 1936).
Moody, Jane, Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770–1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2000). Moody furnishes a list of the many periodicals and newspapers that reported on the theatrical scene at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, pp. 252–3.
Stone, Jr, GeorgeWinchester, ‘Shakespeare in the Periodicals, 1700–1740’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 2 (1951), 221–31; 3 (1952), 313–28.
Stratman, Carl J., A Bibliography of British Dramatic Periodicals, 1720–1960 (New York Public Library, 1962).

3 Staging and adaptation

3.1 Eighteenth-century adaptations

The history of Shakespearean adaptations in the eighteenth century is complicated, but the adapted texts produced and published in the period can be divided, broadly, into two categories: (a) radical adaptations, and (b) abridged or reworked plays. The first category consists of drastically rewritten plays, such as Nahum Tate's King Lear or the revised version of Coriolanus by John Dennis. The practice of radically rewriting Shakespeare fell off sharply after the Restoration, and after the mid eighteenth century some of these radical adaptations were revisited, with a view to restoring portions of the original text. The second category of adaptations consists of texts in which changes were introduced as new scenes or as excisions of Shakespearean text, rather than as a wholesale rewriting of that text. In many instances, the interventions are relatively light: speeches are pruned (and sometimes reassigned to different characters), and scenes omitted – theatrical practices that continue to the present day. These more conservative adaptations were often published as acting versions, with the name of the theatre in which the version was performed noted in the title of the publication. The collections by Bell and Kemble listed below include many of these acting versions.

The list of adaptations that follows is organized alphabetically under the original Shakespearean titles. Many of the adaptations listed fall under category ‘a’ (rewritten texts), but some of the more noteworthy acting versions belonging to category ‘b’ are also included. The two categories cannot, in any event, be separated too sharply: the choices an adapter makes in omitting speeches and scenes can be as revealing as the practice of rewriting, and adapters often adopted a combination of the two strategies in their work. The list also includes a number of adaptations dating from the Restoration period, deemed noteworthy because they continued to be staged in the eighteenth century or influenced the direction of subsequent adaptations. Also noted, where appropriate, is the date when the original play was revived; by the term ‘original play’ is meant an acting version substantially true to the Shakespearean text, but containing alterations and abridgements.

The statistics following each title are drawn from Hogan, Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701–1800, vol. Ii, pp. 716–19. Hogan's statistical summary should be used with caution and is open to correction (he does not, for example, discriminate amongst the various versions of a play that might be performed or the relative prominence given to a Shakespeare play in the billing of the evening's entertainment). The figures indicate each play's relative popularity on the London stage, 1701–1800, compared to other plays by Shakespeare (Rel. Pop.); and the number of times the play was performed on the London stage in the major theatres between 1701 and 1800 (No. Of Perf.). By ‘major theatres’ is meant the royal ‘patent’ theatres officially licensed by the government from the Restoration onwards to perform spoken dramas: the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane; the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, which became the Theatre Royal Covent Garden; and the Haymarket Theatre. In addition, the Goodman's Fields Theatre operated for a brief period in Ayliffe Street, Whitechapel, and there are a number of Shakespeare performances recorded there in the 1730s and 1740s. Noteworthy adaptations produced outside London are also occasionally mentioned.

The list draws on the following works of bibliographical and critical scholarship, to which the reader is directed for more detailed study of eighteenth-century adaptation:

Dobson, Michael, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660–1769 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994).
Dobson, Michael and StanleyWells (eds.), The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Oxford University Press, 2001).
Genest, John, Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830, 10 vols. (Bath: H. E. Carrington, 1832).
Hogan, Charles Beecher, Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701–1800: A Record of Performances in London, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952–7).
Marsden, Jean I., The Re-Imagined Text: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995).
Odell, George Clinton Densmore, Shakespeare from Betterton to Irving, 2 vols. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1920).

3.1.1 List of adaptations (by original play title)

All's Well That Ends Well (Rel. Pop. = 27, No. Of Perf. = 51)

The first eighteenth-century performance of this play took place in 1741 at Goodman's Fields. It was performed infrequently during the second half of the century. The first published acting version, containing omissions of some passages and scenes, appeared in John Bell's edition of acting versions, published in 1773–4. This text was reprinted in 1778 by J. Harrison as All's Well, that Ends Well. A Comedy. As It Is Acted at the Theatres-Royal in Drury-Lane.

Pilon, Frederick, three-act abridgement and alteration, produced 1785, Haymarket. Not published. Performed twice.
Kemble, John Philip, Shakspeare's All's Well that Ends Well; with Alterations by J. P. Kemble, produced 1794, Drury Lane. Published London: J. Debrett, 1793. Performed once.

Antony and Cleopatra(Rel. Pop. = 33, No. Of Perf. = 6)

JohnDryden'sAll for Love was preferred over Shakespeare's original throughout the eighteenth century, which explains the small number of performances of the original text (only six, using Garrick's adaptation). All for Love was performed 136 times between 1701 and 1800.
Dryden, John, All for Love or, the World Well Lost (London: Henry Herringman, 1678). The title-page asserts that the play was written ‘in imitation of Shakespeare's stile’, but it is a thoroughly reconceived and rewritten play.
Garrick, David, and Edward Capell, Antony and Cleopatra; an Historical Play, Written by William Shakespeare: Fitted for the Stage by Abridging Only (London: J. and R. Tonson, 1758). Abridgement and some reassignment of speeches. This version was staged six times in 1759, Drury Lane.
Brooke, Henry, Antony and Cleopatra, in A Collection of the Pieces Formerly Published by Henry Brooke, 4 vols. (London: Printed for the author, 1778), vol. Ii, pp. 329–426. Never performed. In this adaptation, Antony and Cleopatra have produced two children, Alexander and Cleopatra.

As You Like It(Rel. Pop. = 12, No. Of Perf. = 274)

Original play revived 1740; performed regularly thereafter in several acting versions.

Johnson, Charles, Love in a Forest, produced 1723, Drury Lane. Published London: W. Chetwood and Tho. Edlin, 1723. Performed six times in 1723.
Carrington, John, The Modern Receipt: or, A Cure for Love (London: Printed for the Author, 1739). Not performed.

The Comedy of Errors(Rel. Pop. = 25, No. Of Perf. = 62)

Original play revived 1741, but a strong tradition of performance in adaptation persists to the present day.

Taverner, William, Every Body Mistaken, three-act adaptation produced 1716, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Not published. Affixed to this play was a masque, which was published as Presumptuous Love: A Dramatic Masque: As It Is Performed at the New Theatre in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, 1716 (London: Edw. Nutt, [1716]). The 1812 edition of Biographia Dramatica, vol. Ii, pp. 203 (and, subsequently, Hogan in Shakespeare in the Theatre, vol. I, p. 98) lists ‘Dr. Brown’ (presumably Dr Joseph Browne, physician and satirist, c.1673–c.1721) as co-author.
See If You Like It, anonymous two-act adaptation produced 1734, Covent Garden. Not published.
Hull, Thomas, The Twins. This alteration performed once only, 1762. Privately printed in 1770. Hull adapted the play a second time, under Shakespeare's title; this alteration was staged frequently from 1779 onwards and was published in 1793 (see below).
Woods, William, The Twins; or, Which is Which? A Farce. In Three Acts (Edinburgh: T. Cadell & C. Elliot, 1780). Performed at the Theatre-Royal, Edinburgh.
Kemble, John Philip, Oh! It's Impossible. Performed at York, 1780. Not published.
Hull, Thomas, The Comedy of Errors. With Alterations from Shakspeare (London: John Bell, 1793).

Coriolanus(Rel. Pop. = 26, No. Of Perf. = 52)

Original play (acting version) revived 1718–21 (nine performances) and 1754–5 (nine performances).

Tate, Nahum, The Ingratitude of a Common-Wealth: or the Fall of Caius Martius Coriolanus (London: T. M. for Joseph Hindmarsh, 1682).
Dennis, John, The Invader of His Country; or The Fatal Resentment, produced 1719, Drury Lane. Published London: J. Pemberton, 1720.
Thomson, James, Coriolanus. A Tragedy, produced 1749, Covent Garden. Published London: A. Millar, 1749. Like Dryden's All for Love, Thomson's play is a thoroughgoing reconceptualization of Shakespeare's historical subject, rather than an adaptation.
Sheridan, Thomas, Coriolanus: or, the Roman Matron. A Tragedy. Taken from Shakespear and Thomson, produced 1754, Covent Garden. Published London: A. Millar, 1755. A hybrid of Shakespeare and Thomson. Performed sixteen times.
Kemble, John Philip, Coriolanus; or, The Roman Matron. A Tragedy. Altered from Shakespeare, produced 1789. Published London: J. Christie, 1789. A stripped-down version of Shakespeare, with additions from Thomson. Performed fourteen times.

Cymbeline(Rel. pop. = 14, no. of perf. = 200)

Original play (acting version) revived 1746; play performed regularly thereafter.

D’Urfey, Thomas, The Injured Princess, or, the Fatal Wager (London: R. Bentley and M. Magnes, 1682). D’Urfey's version performed twenty-two times, until 1738.
Hawkins, William, Cymbeline. A Tragedy, Altered from Shakespeare (London: James Rivington and James Fletcher, 1759). Performed seven times.
Marsh, Charles, Cymbeline: King of Britain. A Tragedy, Written by Shakespear. With Some Alterations, by Charles Marsh (London: Charles Marsh, [1759?]). Never performed.
Garrick, David, Cymbeline. A Tragedy. By Shakespear. With Alterations, produced 1762, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1762. Less drastically altered than Hawkins.
Brooke, Henry, Cymbeline, in A Collection of the Pieces Formerly Published by Henry Brooke, 4 vols. (London, 1778), vol. Iii, pp. 169–256.

Double Falshood(No. Of Perf. = 22)

The play Double Falshood; or, the Distressed Lovers, prepared for the stage by Lewis Theobald, had its premiere in London in 1727 and was published in 1728. Theobald claimed that the play, based on the interpolated story of Cardenio in Cervantes's Don Quixote, had originally been written by Shakespeare. Theobald further claimed to have in his possession three manuscript copies of a play by Shakespeare, upon which he had based his edition or adaptation. Documentary evidence exists that a play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, variously called Cardenna and Cardenno, and subsequently referred to as The History of Cardenio, was performed in 1613. Reactions to Theobald's claims in his own time and since have ranged from incredulity to guarded acceptance. A new edition of the play for Arden Shakespeare, edited by Brean Hammond, examines the issue exhaustively. Hammond concludes cautiously that the authorial hands of Shakespeare and Fletcher can indeed be detected in Double Falshood, but that Theobald's play must be regarded as a radical adaptation of the original, with elements incorporated that date from the Restoration period. Theobald's drama is thus to be viewed as the ‘eighteenth-century great-grandchild’ of Shakespeare and Fletcher's lost play (Hammond, p. 8). See Double Falsehood, or, The Distressed Lovers, Arden Shakespeare, ed. Brean Hammond (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2010), and also Hammond's essay in this volume, pp. 78–96.

Theobald, Lewis, Double Falshood; or, the Distrest Lovers. A Play, as It Is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. Written Originally by W. Shakespeare (London: J. Watts, 1728). Play performed in London fourteen times in 1727–9, and eight times subsequently; also performed seven times at Bath in the 1780s and 1790s. Last known professional performance in the period took place at Bath in 1793.

Hamlet(Rel. Pop. = 1, No. Of Perf. = 601)

The longest of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet has routinely been shortened in performance, and the eighteenth century was no exception. The play was performed uninterruptedly throughout the period. Numerous acting versions were published: Charles Hogan lists twenty-three of these in his Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701–1800. All of these are shortened texts, with significant omissions. Kemble published two such acting versions at the end of the century.

Garrick, David, Hamlet, produced 1772, Drury Lane. Performed thirty-four times between 1772 and 1779. Not published. In this version Garrick omitted most of act five and rewrote the ending, with Laertes surviving the catastrophe to rule Denmark.
Murphy, Arthur, Hamlet, with Alterations: A Tragedy in Three Acts, a satirical parody critiquing Garrick's alteration, circulated in manuscript. Garrick appears as Claudius and confesses, ‘Though yet of Shakespear our great poet's name / The memory be green . . . Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature, / That we think now to alter all his plays.’ Published after Murphy's death in Jesse Foot, The Life of ArthurMurphy (London: J. Faulder, 1811), pp. 256–74.
Wilkinson, Tate, Hamlet, with Alterations, produced 1773 at York and other northern English theatres. Wilkinson published his alterations in summary form in The Wandering Patentee; or, a History of the Yorkshire Theatres, from 1770 to the Present Time, 4 vols. (York: Printed for the author, 1795).

1 Henry IV (Rel. Pop. = 7, No. Of Perf. = 363)

One of a very small number of plays never substantially rewritten in the period, Othello and Henry VIII being two others. Popular throughout the century and regularly performed.

Betterton, Thomas, King Henry IV, with the Humours of Sir John Falstaff, produced 1700, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Published London: R. W., 1700. Lightly altered for production purposes, with omission of some lines and scenes.

2 Henry IV (Rel. Pop. = 17, No. Of Perf. = 150)

Betterton, Thomas [attrib.], The Sequel of Henry the Fourth: with the Humours of Sir John Falstaffe, and Justice Shallow . . . Alter’d from Shakespear, by the Late Mr. Betterton, produced 1704, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Published London: W. Chetwood; T. Jauncy, [c.1720]. A shortened version, with scenes from Henry V, acts one and two, added at the end. Performed forty-five times, into the 1740s. In ‘Thomas Betterton's playwriting’, Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 77 (1974), 375–92, Judith Milhous calls into question Betterton's authorship of this adaptation.
Anon., The Humours of Sir John Falstaff, Justice Shallow, and Ancient Pistol, produced 1734, Haymarket, performed three times; not published.
Cibber, Theophilus [attrib.], The Humorists, produced 1754, Drury Lane, performed once. Hogan deduces from the dramatis personae that this two-act adaptation probably consisted of act two, scene four and act three, scene two.
Kenrick, William, Falstaff's Wedding . . . Being a Sequel to the Second Part of the Play of King Henry the Fourth (London: L. Davies and C. Reymers, 1766). A comic sequel, rather than an adaptation, inspired by the character of Falstaff.

Henry V (Rel. Pop. = 18, No. Of Perf. = 142)

Original play revived 1738.

Molloy, Charles, The Half-Pay Officers (London: A. Bettesworth, W. Boreham et al., 1720). Derived from Sir William Davenant's Love and Honour (1634), with scenes from Twelfth Night and Henry V (the chief borrowings from the latter are the characters of Fluellen and Macmorris). Produced 1720, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Performed seven times in 1720; revived twice, Haymarket, 1723 and 1730.
Hill, Aaron, King Henry the Fifth: or, the Conquest of France, by the English, produced 1723, Drury Lane. Performed sixteen times up to 1746. Published London: W. Chetwood and J. Watts, 1723. New leading character (Harriet) and new material added; comic characters and scenes excised.
Anon., The Conspiracy Discovered: French Policy Defeated, one-act play produced 1746, Drury Lane. Performed three times. Not published. Topical adaptation probably linked to treason trials following the rebellion of 1745.
Kemble, John Philip, King Henry V. Or the Conquest of France, a Tragedy, Written by Shakspeare, produced 1789, Drury Lane. Published London, J. Debrett, 1789. An acting version.

1 Henry VI (Rel. Pop. = 35, No. Of Perf. = 1)

Performed once, 13 March 1738, at Covent Garden, ‘at the request of several ladies of quality’. The ladies in question were the Shakespeare Ladies Club.

2 Henry VI [The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of Lancaster and York] (Rel. Pop. = 32, No. Of Perf. = 9)

Staged only in Philips's adapted version: ten performances in 1723. (Note: Hogan says nine performances; the Index to The London Stage 1660–1800 lists ten performances.)

Crowne, John, Henry the Sixth, the First Part, with the Murder of Humphrey the Duke of Glocester, produced 1681. Published London: R. Bentley and M. Magnes, 1681. Based on 2 Henry VI, acts one to three.
Philips, Ambrose, Humfrey, Duke of Gloster, produced 1723, Drury Lane. Performed nine times. Published London: J. Roberts, 1723. A rewriting of acts one to three, with a few of Shakespeare's lines retained.

3 Henry VI [Richard Duke of York] (Rel. Pop. = 36, No. Of Perf. = 1)

Performed once, using T. Cibber's adaptation.

Crowne, John, Henry the Sixth, the Second Part, or the Misery of Civil War, produced 1679 or 1680. Published London: R. Bentley and M. Magnes, 1681. An amalgamation of 2 Henry VI, acts four and five, with 3 Henry VI.
Cibber, Theophilus, An Historical Tragedy of the Civil Wars in the Reign of King Henry VI. (Being a Sequel to the Tragedy of Humfrey Duke of Gloucester: and an Introduction to the Tragical History of King Richard III), produced 1723, Drury Lane. Performed once. Published London: J. Walthoe, 1723. Cibber borrows at times from John Crowne's 1680 adaptation, The Misery of Civil War.
Valpy, Richard, The Roses; or King Henry the Sixth . . . Compiled Chiefly from Shakespeare, produced 1795, Reading School. Published Reading: Smart and Cowslade, 1795. Some interpolations from 1 and 2 Henry VI and from Richard II.

Henry VIII [All Is True] (Rel. Pop. = 13, No. Of Perf. = 262)

Performed regularly throughout the century without drastic alteration.

Julius Caesar(Rel. Pop. = 16, No. Of Perf. = 186)

Performed regularly without drastic alteration. The number of performances fell off steeply in the second half of the century, with no stagings after 1780.

The Tragedy of Julius Cæsar: with the Death of Brutus and Cassius; Written Originally by Shakespear, and Since Alter’d by Sir William Davenant and John Dryden (London: W. Chetwood and R. Francklin, 1719). Cuts 128 lines and adds 28. Alterations designed to make Brutus more sympathetic and heroic. Probably the version staged in the early decades of the century.
Sheffield, John, Earl of Mulgrave, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Altered and The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus, in The Works of John Sheffield, 2 vols. (London: John Barber, 1723), vol. I, pp. 210–453. A two-part adaptation, never staged. A strongly pro-Caesar version composed c.1716, after the first Jacobite rebellion.

King John(Rel. Pop. = 22, No. Of Perf. = 113)

First performed 1737, at the encouragement of the Shakespeare Ladies Club. Performed regularly thereafter.

Cibber, Colley, Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John, produced 1745, Covent Garden. Published London: J. Watts, 1745. Performed twelve times, 1745–6. An anti-Catholic version produced in the context of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.
Valpy, Richard, King John, an Historical Tragedy, Altered from Shakespeare, as It Was Acted at Reading School, for the Subscription to the Naval Pillar, to Be Erected in Honor of the Naval Victories of the Present War (Reading: Smart and Cowslade, 1800).

King Lear(Rel. Pop. = 6, No. Of Perf. = 372)

Original play never performed in the eighteenth century.

Tate, Nahum, The History of King Lear (London: E. Flesher, 1681). Tate's adaptation was the only version performed until 1756, when Garrick's modification of Tate was first produced. Performed 293 times in the century.
Garrick, David, revisions to Tate's Lear, produced 1756. Performed sixty-one times. Published as part of Bell's edition, 1773–4. For performance, Garrick restored portions of Shakespeare's original text. In subsequent revisions during the early 1770s and in 1786, he restored more of Shakespeare's text and reduced Tate's contributions further. However, he was never able to remove Tate's ending or restore the Fool.
Colman, George, The History of King Lear. As It Is Performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, and Altered by George Colman, produced 1768, Covent Garden. Published London: R. Baldwin and T. Becket, 1768. Eliminates love interest between Edgar and Cordelia. Performed fifteen times, 1768–73.

Love's Labour's Lost

Play not performed in the eighteenth century.

Anon., The Students. A Comedy. Altered from Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost, and Adapted to the Stage (London: Thomas Hope, 1762). Not produced.

Macbeth(Rel. Pop. = 2, No. Of Perf. = 558)

Original play revived 1744.

Davenant, William, Macbeth a Tragædy: with All the Alterations, Amendments, Additions, and New Songs: As It's Now Acted at the Dukes Theatre (London: P. Chetwin, 1674). Performed 241 times. Davenant's version held the stage exclusively until 1744; it was no longer performed after 1751.
Garrick, David, Macbeth, produced 1744, Drury Lane. Not published. Advertised by Garrick, ‘as written by Shakespeare’. Retains some of Davenant's alterations, but gives a defining interpretation of Macbeth, presenting his soliloquies and his dialogues with Lady Macbeth intact.
Kenrick, William, Fun: A Parodi-Tragi-Comical Satire. As It Was to Have Been Perform’d at the Castle-Tavern, Pater-Noster-Row, on Thursday, February 13, 1752, but Suppressed, by a Special Order from the Lord-Mayor and Court of Aldermen (London: Richard James, 1752). A travesty version.

Measure for Measure (Rel. Pop. = 19, No. Of Perf. = 133)

Original play performed at regular intervals throughout the century.

Gildon, Charles, Measure for Measure; or, Beauty the Best Advocate, produced 1706, Queen's Theatre. Published London: D. Brown and R. Parker, 1700. Performed once. An amalgamation of Measure for Measure and Much Ado about Nothing, based on William Davenant's adaptation The Law Against Lovers, first performed in 1662 and published in The Works of Sr. William D’avenant (London, 1673).

The Merchant of Venice(Rel. Pop. = 9, No. Of Perf. = 358)

Original play revived 1741 and dominated the stage thereafter.

Granville, George, The Jew of Venice, produced 1701. Published London: Ber. Lintott, 1701. Performed forty-two times up to 1754.

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Rel. Pop. = 11, No. Of Perf. = 336)

Original play performed regularly throughout the century in acting versions.

Dennis, John, The Comical Gallant; or, the Amours of Sir John Falstaffe, produced 1702, Drury Lane. Published London: A. Baldwin, 1702. Performed once.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Rel. Pop. = 21, No. Of Perf. = 115)

Performed almost exclusively in adapted and abbreviated versions.

Purcell, Henry, The Fairy Queen, produced 1692, Queen's Theatre. Published London: Jacob Tonson, 1692.
Leveridge, Richard, The Comick Masque of Pyramus and Thisbe, produced 1716, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Published London: W. Mears, 1716. A mock opera, composed only of the play's comic scenes. Performed ten times.
Johnson, Charles, Love in a Forest, produced 1723, Drury Lane. Published London: W. Chetwood and Tho. Edlin, 1723. This adaptation of As You Like It (see above) contains Pyramus and Thisbe in act five as an interpolated mock play. Performed six times.
Lampe, John Frederick, Pyramus and Thisbe: a Mock-Opera. Written by Shakespeare. Set to Musick by Mr. Lampe, produced 1745, Covent Garden. Published London: H. Woodfall, 1745. Performed thirty-seven times.
Garrick, David, The Fairies. An Opera. Taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream, produced 1755, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1755. Performed eleven times.
Garrick, David, and GeorgeColmanthe Elder, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Written by Shakespeare: with Alterations and Additions, and Several New Songs, produced 1763, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1763. Performed once. Concludes with act four, scene one; comic characters (mechanicals) omitted. Version includes thirty-three added songs. Aside from this single performance, nothing resembling the Shakespearean original saw the stage.
Colman, George, the Elder, A Fairy Tale. In Two Acts, produced 1763, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1763.

Much Ado About Nothing (Rel. Pop. = 15, No. Of Perf. = 195)

This play picked up markedly in popularity during the second half of the century. Performed 148 times after 1750.

Miller, James, The Universal Passion, produced 1737, Drury Lane. Published London: J. Watts, 1737. Incorporates elements from Molière's Princesse d’Élide. Performed twelve times.

Othello (Rel. Pop. = 5, No. Of Perf. = 441)

This play was not substantially adapted or reworked in the eighteenth century.

Pericles (Rel. Pop. = 34, No. Of Perf. = 3)

Acted only three times, in Lillo's version, 1738.

Lillo, George, Marina: a Play of Three Acts . . . Taken from Pericles Prince of Tyre, produced 1738, Covent Garden. Published London: John Gray, 1738. Omits acts one and two.

Richard II (Rel. Pop. = 28, No. Of Perf. = 25)

Original play revived 1738–9 in fifteen performances; not performed thereafter.

Tate, Nahum, The History of King Richard the Second. Acted at the Theatre Royal under the Name of the Sicilian Usurper. With a Prefatory Epistle in Vindication of the Author, Occasion’d by the Prohibition of This Play on the Stage, by N. Tate (London: Richard Tonson and Jacob Tonson, 1681).
Theobald, Lewis, The Tragedy of King Richard the II . . . Alter’d from Shakespear, by Mr. Theobald, produced 1719, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Published London: G. Strahan, W. Mears et al., 1720. Alterations supply a love plot and heighten the pathos of the play. Performed ten times in 1719–21.

Richard III (Rel. Pop. = 3, No. Of Perf. = 523)

Performed exclusively in adaptation.

Cibber, Colley, The Tragical History of Richard III, produced 1700, Drury Lane. Published London: B. Lintott, 1700. Uses material from Richard II, 2 Henry IV, Henry V, 3 Henry VI and Richard III. Performed throughout the century in Cibber's version (523 times) and continued to hold the stage in the nineteenth century. In 1741, Garrick made his acting debut on the London stage playing the role of Richard in this adaptation.

Romeo and Juliet (Rel. Pop. = 4, No. Of Perf. = 495)

Revived 1744 and performed regularly thereafter.

Otway, Thomas, The History and Fall of Caius Marius, first performed in 1680, Dorset Gardens. Published London: Tho. Flesher, 1680. Performed twenty-nine times after 1700.
Cibber, Theophilus, Romeo and Juliet, a Tragedy, Revis’d, and Alter’d from Shakespear, produced 1744, Haymarket. Published London: C. Corbett and G. Woodfall, 1748. Performed ten times in 1744.
Garrick, David, Romeo and Juliet. By Shakespear. With Some Alterations, and an Additional Scene, produced 1748, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1748. Reprinted 1750 with further minor changes. Original text largely followed. Garrick imitates Otway with a scene in which Juliet awakens in the tomb before Romeo's death and the lovers bid each other farewell. A second added scene is Juliet's funeral procession, with a choral dirge. Garrick also idealized the lovers by excising references to Romeo's previous love, Rosaline. These innovations held the stage until well into the nineteenth century.

The Taming of the Shrew (Rel. Pop. = 8, No. Of Perf. = 359)

Original play not performed in the eighteenth century.

Lacy, John, Sauny the Scot: or, the Taming of the Shrew (London: E. Whitlock, 1698). Reprinted 1708, 1714. First performed in 1667, this prose adaptation held the stage until the mid eighteenth century. Performed twenty-nine times, until 1736.
Johnson, Charles, The Cobler of Preston, produced 1716, Drury Lane. Published London: W. Wilkins, 1716. Performed sixteen times in 1716.
Bullock, Christopher, The Cobler of Preston. A Farce, produced 1716 at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Published London: R. Palmer, 1716. An adaptation of the ‘Induction’ to The Taming of the Shrew; Bullock admits to stealing the idea (and title) of his adaptation from Johnson. Performed seventy-one times, until 1759.
Worsdale, James, A Cure for a Scold, produced 1735, Drury Lane. Published London: L. Gilliver, 1735. A ballad opera based on The Taming of the Shrew. Performed seven times.
Garrick, David, Catharine and Petruchio, an afterpiece, produced 1754, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1756. Garrick's afterpiece dominated the stage for the remainder of the century. Performed 234 times.

The Tempest (Rel. Pop. = 10, No. Of Perf. = 354)

Original play (acting version) revived in 1746 and performed regularly thereafter. Garrick produced an acting version in 1757 (published 1773 in Bell's ‘acting edition’) that cuts a number of lines in order to tighten the play.

Davenant, Sir William, and JohnDryden, The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island, produced 1667. Published London: H. Herringman, 1670.
Shadwell, Thomas, The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island (London: H. Herringman, 1674). This is Davenant and Dryden's version with some musical additions (songs and a masque). This adaptation formed the basis for eighteenth-century editions and performances, but subsequent acting editions based on this adaptation credit Davenant and Dryden only. Performed 180 times, until 1750.
Garrick, David, The Tempest. An Opera, produced 1756, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1756. A drastically shortened, three-act version with thirty-two songs by Shakespeare, Dryden, Shadwell and others, set to music by John Christopher Smith. Performed six times in1756.
Anon., an operatic adaptation, produced 1776, not published. The songs published separately as Airs, Duets, & c. Introduced in Shakespeare's Tempest, As It Is Now Performing in Three Acts, at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden (London: T. Evans, 1776). Music selected from Henry Purcell, John Christopher Smith, Thomas Arne and J. A. Fisher. Performed seven times.
An unpublished acting version probably by Richard Brinsley Sheridan was produced at Drury Lane in 1777.
Anon., The Shipwreck, Altered from Shakespeare and Dryden, with the Original Music by Smith, as Performed at the Patagonian Theatre, Exeter-’Change (London: W. Thompson, 1780). A reduced, three-act version based on Dryden and Davenant. Performed at a puppet theatre.
Godolphin, Francis, The Virgin Queen, a Drama in Five Acts; Attempted as a Sequel to Shakespeare's Tempest (London: Printed for the author, 1797). A sequel, rather than an adaptation.
Kemble, John Philip, The Tempest; or, the Enchanted Island. Written by Shakespeare; with Additions from Dryden; as Compiled by J. P. Kemble (London: J. Debrett, 1789). This version held the stage from 1789 onwards.

Timon of Athens (Rel. Pop. = 24, No. Of Perf. = 101)

Performed chiefly in Shadwell's version and very infrequently after 1750.

Shadwell, Thomas, The History of Timon of Athens, the Man-Hater (London: H. Herringman, 1678). Performed eighty-nine times, until 1745. Shadwell adds two female roles (Timon's mistress and his fiancée) to supply a love plot, and in his version Timon dies on stage. The only version staged in the first half of the century.
Love, James [James Dance], Timon of Athens. As It Is Acted at the Theatre-Royal on Richmond-Green. Altered from Shakespear and Shadwell (London: M. Hingeston, 1768). A revision of Shadwell's version. Shadwell had furnished Timon with rival lovers. Love retains the faithful mistress, Evandra, and restores more of Shakespeare's text.
Cumberland, Richard, Timon of Athens, Altered from Shakespear, produced 1771, Drury Lane. Published London: T. Becket, 1771. Cumberland replaces the rival lovers supplied by Shadwell with a virtuous daughter, Evanthe. Performed 11 times.
Hull, Thomas, Timon of Athens, produced 1786, Covent Garden. Not published. Hogan deduces from the dramatis personae that Hull based his alteration on Shadwell. Performed once.

Titus Andronicus (Rel. Pop. = 29, No. Of Perf. = 16)

Ravenscroft, Edward, Titus Andronicus, or, The Rape of Lavinia Acted at the Theatre Royall: a Tragedy, Alter’d from Mr. Shakespears Works, first performed 1678 and revived 1685–7. Published London: J. Hindmarsh, 1687. The only version performed in the eighteenth century. Staged sixteen times from 1703–24; not performed thereafter.

Troilus and Cressida (Rel. Pop. = 30, No. Of Perf. = 10)

Dryden, John, Troilus and Cressida, or, Truth Found Too Late. A Tragedy . . . to Which Is Prefix’d, a Preface Containing the Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, first performed 1679. Published London: Abel Swall and Jacob Tonson, 1679. In his Preface Dryden outlines the alterations he has introduced. This alteration was the only version performed in the eighteenth century. Performed ten times between 1709 and 1734. Not performed thereafter.

Twelfth Night (Rel. Pop. = 20, No. Of Perf. = 131)

Original play revived 1741; performed regularly thereafter.

Burnaby, William, Love Betray’d; or, the Agreable Disapointment (London: D. Brown, 1703). Play rewritten in prose, with about fifty original lines retained. A masque is added to the proceedings.
Molloy, Charles, The Half-Pay Officers (London: A. Bettesworth, W. Boreham et al., 1720). The comic duel in this play is probably borrowed from Twelfth Night. See entry under Henry V, above.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Rel. Pop. = 31, No. Of Perf. = 10)

Original play revived 1784 (one performance); revived again by Kemble in 1790 (three performances).

Victor, Benjamin, The Two Gentlemen of Verona . . . With Alterations and Additions, performed 1762, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1763. Performed five times, 1762–3.

The Two Noble Kinsmen (No. Of Perf. = 1)

The Two Noble Kinsmen was attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title-page of the Quarto edition published in 1634, but eighteenth-century editors resisted the idea that Shakespeare had collaborated in writing this play. The editors of the ten-volume edition of The Dramatick Works of Beaumont and Fletcher (London: T. Sherlock, 1778), assert that they doubt ‘the tradition of his [Shakespeare's] being at all concerned in the piece’ (vol. X, p. 118), and they disparage Alexander Pope for broaching this possibility in the Preface to his edition. The play was not included in eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare's plays, and Hogan does not cover it in his survey, Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701 to 1800. The play was performed only once during the century, in Francis Waldron's version.

Davenant, William, The Rivals, first performed 1664. Published London: William Cademan, 1668. This adaptation influenced the adaptations of Cumberland and Waldron in the eighteenth century.
Cumberland, Richard, Palamon and Arcite: or, The Two Noble Kinsmen, written 1779. Not published or performed. The manuscript of this play has since been published in The Unpublished Plays of Richard Cumberland, ed. Richard J. Dircks, 2 vols. (New York: AMS Press, 1992), vol. Ii, pp. 197–277.
Waldron, Francis Godolphin, Love and Madness: or, the Two Noble Kinsmen, produced 1795 (one performance), Haymarket. Not published. Songs from this adaptation were published in a pamphlet, Songs, & c. Composed by Dr. Arnold, and Sung by Mrs. Harlowe; in Love and Madness! or The Two Noble Kinsmen (London: Printed for the Editor, 1795).

The Winter's Tale (Rel. Pop. = 23, No. Of Perf. = 112)

Original play revived 1741–2 (twelve performances).

Morgan, MacNamara, The Sheep-Shearing: or, Florizel and Perdita. A Pastoral Comedy. Taken from Shakespear. As It Is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Dublin. The Songs Set by Mr. Arne, first performed in Dublin. Produced in London 1754, Covent Garden. Published Dublin: Peter Wilson, 1747. Largely based on the play's pastoral comedy in act four. Performed in London twenty-five times.
Garrick, David, Florizel and Perdita: A Dramatic Pastoral, produced 1756, Drury Lane. Published London: J. and R. Tonson, 1756. An adaptation largely of acts three to five; designed as an afterpiece. Performed sixty-eight times.
Marsh, Charles, The Winter's Tale, a Play. Alter’d from Shakespear (London: Charles Marsh, 1756). Not performed.
Colman, George, The Sheep-Shearing: A Dramatic Pastoral, produced 1777, Haymarket. Published London: G. Kearsly, 1777. Performed three times, 1777 and 1783.
An acting version by Thomas Hull was published in Bell's Edition of Shakespeare's Plays. Hull's version produced twice, 1771–2.

3.1.2 Collections and editions of adaptations and acting versions

Bell, John, and Francis Gentleman, Bell's Edition of Shakespeare's Plays, As They Are Now Performed at the Theatres Royal in London, Regulated from the Prompt Books of Each House . . . With Notes Critical and Illustrative . . . by the Authors of the Dramatic Censor [i.e. Francis Gentleman], 9 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1774). A collection of acting versions of Shakespeare's plays staged in the later decades of the century; as such, this edition offers a valuable record of the ways in which the plays were being altered at the time. With an introductory Advertisement by Gentleman justifying the practice of alteration. Contains twenty-four plays, eighteen from Drury Lane and six from Covent Garden. Described in detail by Odell, Shakespeare from Betterton to Irving, vol. Ii, pp. 16–44.
Clark, Sandra (ed.), Shakespeare Made Fit: Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare, Everyman's Library (London: Dent; Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1997).
Colman, George, the Elder, The Plays of George Colman the Elder, ed. Kalman A. Burnim, 6 vols. (New York; London: Garland, 1983). Includes facsimile texts of several Colman adaptations.
Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1997). This database contains eleven major editions of Shakespeare from the first Folio of 1623 to the Cambridge edition of 1863–6, as well as numerous adaptations, sequels and burlesques from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Bell's ‘acting edition’ of 1774.
Garrick, David, Garrick's Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1744–1756 and Garrick's Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1759–1773, vols. Iii–Iv of Plays of Garrick.
Garrick, DavidThe Plays of David Garrick, ed. Gerald M. Berkowitz, 4 vols. (New York; London: Garland, 1981). Includes texts of six Garrick adaptations.
Kahan, Jeffrey (ed.), Shakespeare Imitations, Parodies and Forgeries, 1710–1820, 3 vols. (London; New York: Routledge, 2004). Not an anthology of adaptations per se, but it does include Theobald's Double Falshood, vol. I, pp. 159–242.
Kemble, John Philip, John Philip Kemble Promptbooks, ed. Charles H. Shattuck (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974).
Kemble, John PhilipA Select British Theatre: Containing All the Plays Formerly Adapted to the Stage by Mr. Kemble Revised by Him, with Additional Alterations (London: John Miller, 1814–15). A collected edition of plays adapted by Kemble over the years. Contains twenty-six plays by Shakespeare, which were also published separately over the course of Kemble's career in successive acting versions.
Murray, Barbara A. (ed.), Shakespeare Adaptations from the Restoration: Five Plays (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Modern Humanities Research Association, 2005). Texts of five lesser-known Restoration adaptations.
Shakespeare and the Stage: Basic Documentary Sources Concerning Text and Performance, Series 4: Prompt Books from the Shakespeare Centre Library, Stratford-upon-Avon (Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, 1986). Eighty-five reels of microfilm.
Spencer, Christopher (ed.), Five Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965).
Summers, Montague (ed.), Shakespeare Adaptations (London: Jonathan Cape, 1922).

3.2 Shakespeare adapters, actors and managers

3.2.1 Published sources for the lives of eighteenth-century theatre personnel

Baker, David Erskine, A Companion to the Playhouse, 2 vols. (London: T. Becket, P. A. Dehondt et al., 1764); enlarged by Isaac Reed as Biographia Dramatica, 2 vols. (London: Rivington et al., 1782); further enlarged by Stephen Jones, 3 vols. (London: Longman et al., 1812). Historical and critical memoirs of British playwrights and actors, with reviews of their works.
Batchelor, Jennie (ed.), Women's Theatrical Memoirs, 10 vols. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007–8).
Betterton, Thomas, The History of the English Stage, From the Restauration to the Present Time. Including the Lives, Characters, and Amours, of the Most Eminent Actors and Actresses, ed. Edmund Curll and William Oldys (London: E. Curll, 1741).
Chetwood, William Rufus, A General History of the Stage, from its Origin in Greece Down to the Present Time. With the Memoirs of Most of the Principal Performers That Have Appeared on the English and Irish Stage for These last Fifty Years. With Notes, Antient, Modern, Foreign, Domestic, Serious, Comic, Moral, Merry, Historical, and Geographical, Containing many Theatrical Anecdotes; also Several Pieces of Poetry, Never before Published (London: W. Owen, 1749).
Churchill, Charles, The Rosciad (London: Printed for the author, 1761).
Gilliland, Thomas, The Dramatic Mirror; Containing the History of the Stage from the Earliest Period to the Present Time; Including a Biographical and Critical Account of All the Dramatic Writers, from 1660; and also of the Most Distinguished Performers from the Days of Shakespeare to 1807: And a History of the Country Theatres in England, Ireland, and Scotland, 2 vols. (London, C. Chapple, 1808).
Highfill, Jr, Philip, KalmanA. Burnim and EdwardA. Langhans (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660–1800, 16 vols. (Carbondale; Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1973–93). The standard modern source of biographical information.
Marshall, Gail (ed.), Lives of Shakespearean Actors, 4 parts to date (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2008–).
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004–), (subscription).

3.2.2 Leading stage personnel: thumbnail biographies

Abington, Frances, née Barton (1737–1815), actress. She did not play many Shakespeare roles, but she was deemed pre-eminent as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, in which she premiered opposite Garrick in 1776 and which she reprised at Covent Garden in the 1780s and 1790s. Her performance was praised for its wit and incisiveness. Her other Shakespeare roles were Mrs Ford (Merry Wives), Portia (Merchant), and Maria (Twelfth Night).

Baddeley, Sophia, née Snow (1745?–86), actress and singer. She made her debut at Drury Lane in 1764 in the role of Ophelia, for which she earned the admiration of Garrick. She also sang at Garrick's Shakespeare Jubilee celebration at Stratford in 1769; one of the songs she sang, ‘Sweet Willy O!’, subsequently became a favourite in London.

Barry, Ann, née Street (c.1733–1801), actress. She performed in various regional theatres, including Bath, Dublin, Newcastle and York, before debuting on the London stage in 1767, where she played opposite Spranger Barry. She was known for her performances of tragic roles, including Desdemona, Ophelia and Lady Macbeth, and was considered one of the best actresses of her time. She was married three times, to the actors William Dancer, Spranger Barry and Thomas Crawford.

Barry, Elizabeth (c.1658–1713), actress and theatre manager. She is widely acknowledged as the foremost actress of the Restoration period, renowned for her tragic roles, especially in tragedies of pathos and she-tragedies (plays centring upon a virtuous, suffering female protagonist). She played the Shakespearean heroines Cordelia and Juliet in adapted versions of King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. Together with Betterton and Bracegirdle, she broke with the United Company in 1695 to form the Lincoln's Inn Fields Company.

Barry, Spranger (1717?–77), actor and theatrical investor. He was born in Dublin, where he met Garrick, at the Smock Alley Theatre, as well as his future second wife Ann Barry. In the 1750s and 1760s, he was regarded as the only real competition to Garrick, with whom he had an uneasy relationship, sometimes collaborative and sometimes competitive. He was renowned for his Othello but also played other Shakespearean leading roles. He played Hamlet and Macbeth in alternation with Garrick at Drury Lane. After his move to Covent Garden, he played Romeo in direct competition with Garrick.

Bellamy, George Anne (1731?–88), actress. She played Juliet opposite Garrick's Romeo at Drury Lane in 1750, in competition with Susannah Cibber and Barry in the same roles at Covent Garden – a celebrated rivalry at the time. She was best known for her performances of tragic parts, including Desdemona and Cordelia.

Betterton, Thomas (1635–1710), actor and theatre manager. He was the dominant actor and theatre manager of his age and played numerous Shakespearean leading roles in adaptations by Thomas Shadwell, John Dryden, Nahum Tate and Charles Gildon. He also wrote several adaptations. He introduced continental theatrical practices, which emphasized spectacle, to the London stage. Late in his career, he travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon to research Shakespeare's life. Nicholas Rowe acknowledged Betterton's assistance in his biography of Shakespeare published in the 1709 edition of the plays. He is frequently mentioned with Richard Burbage, David Garrick and John Philip Kemble as one of the great Shakespearean actors in English theatre history.

Booth, Barton (1681–1733), actor. He attended Westminster School (under Dr Richard Busby), where he met Nicholas Rowe. His acting career began at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, but his subsequent career at Drury Lane cemented his reputation as an accomplished tragic actor. Among his Shakespearean tragic roles were Timon of Athens, King Lear, Othello, Brutus, Horatio and Banquo. He was considered nonpareil in the role of the Ghost in Hamlet.

Bracegirdle, Anne (bap. 1671–1748), actress and singer. She was the foremost leading lady at the beginning of the eighteenth century, known for her breeches roles. She played Lady Anne (Richard III) and Desdemona early in her career, and she subsequently performed the roles of Cordelia, Ophelia and Portia. She retired from the stage at a fairly young age in 1707. Together with Thomas Betterton and Elizabeth Barry, she managed the new Lincoln's Inn Fields company, formed in 1695.

Cibber, Colley (1671–1757), playwright, actor and theatre manager. He achieved celebrity status as an actor and theatre manager, and was appointed poet laureate in 1730, much to the disgust of Alexander Pope and other anti-government writers. As a Shakespearean, Cibber wrote adaptations of Richard III and King John. His adaptation of Richard III, which is a radical revision of Shakespeare that incorporates material from the other history plays, was the sole version performed until the nineteenth century, and it has been suggested that Cibber's version is a more playable piece than Shakespeare's. He played several serious Shakespeare roles, but his talents were best suited to comedy.

Cibber, Susannah Maria, née Arne (1714–66), actress and singer. A member of the musical Arne family, she was the sister of the composer Thomas Augustine Arne. Her stage career began as a singer, but at the height of her career she played opposite Garrick in such roles as Cordelia, Ophelia and Perdita. She also played opposite Quin (as Desdemona) and Barry (as Juliet). She was briefly and disastrously married to Theophilus Cibber.

Cibber, Theophilus (1703–58), actor, theatre manager and writer. His career was as colourful as that of his father, Colley Cibber, but his behaviour, both in theatrical circles and private life, was considerably more unpleasant and quarrelsome. He produced a youthful adaptation of Henry VI. He was instrumental in bringing his father's adaptation Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John (written in the 1720s) to the stage in 1745. He appeared opposite his daughter Jenny (aged fourteen), as Romeo to her Juliet, in his own adapted version of the play; he also appeared with her as Othello to her Desdemona.

Colman, George (the Elder) (1732–94), playwright and theatre manager. He was a friend of Garrick, with whom he collaborated. In 1767 he acquired a share in the ownership of the Covent Garden Theatre. He promoted William Powell as a Shakespearean actor, for whom he adapted King Lear, restoring Shakespeare's design in some measure by eliminating the Edgar/Cordelia love plot, but retaining the happy ending and omitting the Fool. In 1769 he wrote Man and Wife; or, The Shakespeare Jubilee, a comedy that capitalized on the excitement surrounding Garrick's celebration in Stratford. In 1776 he assumed management of the Haymarket Theatre, where he produced summertime programmes that included productions of Shakespeare.

Cooke, George Frederick (1756–1812), actor. He spent much of his career acting in provincial theatres, but he finally made his mark in London with a spectacular debut in 1800 as Richard III, a role for which he became famous.

Cumberland, Richard (1732–1811), novelist and playwright. He adapted Timon of Athens for Garrick at Drury Lane in 1771. Cumberland anonymously defended Garrick against Samuel Foote's satirical attack on Garrick's adaptation of Hamlet.

Dance, James (1721–74), actor and writer, who performed under the name James Love. He debuted on Garrick's stage at Drury Lane in the character of Falstaff, which came to be regarded as his best role. In 1768 he published an adaptation of Shadwell's version of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens.

Foote, Samuel (1721–77), actor and playwright. He received early training from Charles Macklin and made his Shakespeare debut at the Haymarket as Othello opposite Macklin's Iago. Notorious in his day as a satirist and controversialist, Foote was also a writer who produced some trenchant and capable literary criticism.

Garrick, David (1717–79), actor, playwright and theatre manager. He was the most celebrated Shakespearean actor of the eighteenth century and one of the most famous of all time. He was widely credited with introducing a more naturalistic style of acting that projected tragic roles such as Richard III as individuals rather than as representatives of universal passions, although he did not altogether dispense with the prevailing rhetorical method of acting. He played most of Shakespeare's tragic roles but was considered best as King Lear. As theatre manager at Drury Lane he worked tirelessly to improve standards, promote the respectability of the stage, and foster the careers of many prominent actors. As a Shakespearean, he presided over the apotheosis of the playwright as a national icon at the Stratford Jubilee in 1769, an event dogged by disaster but rescued by Garrick's creation of a stage pageant, The Jubilee, that brought the event to London in ninety-one performances at Drury Lane during the 1769–70 season. He was a prolific adapter of Shakespeare's plays, and many of his adaptations held the stage beyond his lifetime.

Henderson, John (1747–85), actor. He had great success as a leading actor in the provinces (Bath, Bristol, Dublin, Liverpool), where he played numerous Shakespearean roles. His London career was short; he was invited by Colman to the Haymarket in 1777, where he made his London debut as Shylock. He was known also for his roles as Hamlet and Iago.

Hull, Thomas (1728–1808), actor and playwright. He had a long career in London playing secondary roles: no fewer than 200 characters. As a playwright, he adapted The Comedy of Errors twice, produced a version of Timon of Athens (based on Shadwell's adaptation) at Covent Garden in 1786, and abridged The Winter's Tale.

Johnson, Charles (1679–1748), playwright and poet. His main connection with Shakespeare was as an adapter. He adapted As You Like It as Love in a Forest, adding elements of A Midsummer Night's Dream to the final act. The Cobler of Preston, an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, capitalized on topical interest in the first Jacobite rebellion.

Jordan, Dorothy [Dorothea] (1761–1816), actress. She played prominent female Shakespearean roles, including Viola, Rosalind, Julia, Ophelia and Imogen. While active on the stage, she was mistress to the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV.

Kemble, Charles (1775–1854), actor, playwright and theatre manager. He was a younger brother to John Philip Kemble and Sarah Siddons, overshadowed by his more celebrated siblings. His London debut came at Drury Lane in 1794, playing Malcolm to his elder brother's Macbeth. In the years that followed, he played a number of other junior roles to his brother's leading Shakespeare roles. Eventually he achieved part ownership of the Covent Garden Theatre at a time when the patent theatre monopoly was under attack.

Kemble, John Philip (1757–1823), actor, playwright and theatre manager; brother to Sarah Siddons and Charles. After performing in the provinces for some years, he made his debut at Drury Lane in 1783, in the role of Hamlet. During the years that followed he performed numerous leading tragic roles, many opposite his sister Sarah in the female lead (Othello/Desdemona, Macbeth/Lady Macbeth and Lear/Cordelia, for example). After assuming the management of Drury Lane in 1788, he dominated the London theatre scene for three decades. He acquired part ownership of Covent Garden in 1803 and moved there as manager and leading actor. He adapted most of Shakespeare's plays and was particularly associated with roles in the Roman plays, such as Coriolanus. His approach to acting was characterized by studious research and preparation. Numerous visual records survive of his productions, as well as portraits of him in prominent Shakespeare roles.

King, Thomas (1730–1805), actor and theatre manager. He developed his skills as a comic actor under Thomas Sheridan at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin. Upon his return to London in 1759, he embarked upon a career as chief lieutenant to Garrick and, subsequently, Richard Brinsley Sheridan at Drury Lane. He was an important participant in Garrick's celebration of the Shakespeare Jubilee at Stratford in 1769. He was widely considered the greatest comic actor of his age.

Macklin, Charles [Melaghlin, MacLaughlin] (1699–1797), actor and playwright. He became famous for his performance in the role of Shylock when The Merchant of Venice was revived in 1741: his interpretation of the role was serious and dignified, though unsympathetic, a stark contrast with the commedia dell’arte portrayal of Shylock as a low-life character in Granville's adaptation, The Jew of Venice. In the role of Macbeth, he pioneered a new mode of staging Shakespeare that replaced contemporary costuming with a more historicizing attention to time and place. Irascible and litigious in character, he had an uneasy relationship with Garrick, marked by both collaboration and rivalry. He is recognized, along with Garrick, as a key innovator in eighteenth-century theatrical practice, fostering a less artificial, more natural style of acting and staging.

Pope, Elizabeth, née Young (c.1740–97), actress. Beginning in 1768, she performed a number of female Shakespearean roles for Garrick, among them Imogen, Juliet, Miranda, Portia, Viola, and Perdita in Florizel and Perdita (Garrick's adaptation of The Winter's Tale). Trained by Garrick, she exemplified in her work his views on acting. She was known for her ingénue roles, though her acting exhibited a broad range.

Pritchard, Hannah, née Vaughan (1709–68), actress and singer. She was a leading female performer in her day. Her first major success in a Shakespearean role was as Rosalind in the revival of As You Like It in December 1740. She first played opposite Garrick as Gertrude in Hamlet and as Elizabeth in Richard III, the beginning of a strong relationship between the two players. Her role as Lady Macbeth, again with Garrick, brought her great acclaim, and she was recognized as the greatest Lady Macbeth before Sarah Siddons. Her performance was reportedly one of great physical intensity. Both Johan Zoffany and Henry Fuseli produced visual representations of her in the role. Other performances under Garrick's direction included Beatrice, Viola and Emilia. After her death, a marble commemorative tablet was erected in Westminster Abbey, next to the Shakespeare monument.

Quin, James (1693–1766), actor and manager. He was a leading actor in the early part of the eighteenth century, best known as a Shakespearean for his performance in the role of Falstaff. His Shakespearean roles were varied and included Othello, Cymbeline, Lear, and the Duke in Measure for Measure. He is identified with a stately, rhetorical, declamatory style of acting that began to be superseded by the end of his career by the more natural performances of Macklin and Garrick.

Robinson, Mary, née Darby (1758–1800), actress, poet and novelist. She was known as Perdita for her performance of that role in The Winter's Tale. She also performed numerous other Shakespearean roles, beginning in 1776 with Juliet, and went on to play Ophelia, Lady Anne, Lady Macbeth, Viola and Rosalind. She subsequently had a career as a poet and, perhaps most importantly, novelist.

Sheridan, Thomas (1719–88), actor, educator and orthoepist. He began his theatrical career in Dublin, where he played Richard III in 1743, and he subsequently managed the united companies of the Aungier Street and Smock Alley theatres. He had an uneven career in London, where he made his debut as Hamlet in 1744. Though he elicited comparisons to Garrick, he was a lesser performer who was not very well suited to heroic leading roles. His son was the brilliant playwright, theatre manager and politician, Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Siddons, Sarah, née Kemble (1755–1831), actress. She was the eldest child of the great Kemble acting family, which included brothers John Philip and Charles. Her debut on the London stage in 1775 as Portia in The Merchant of Venice did not go well, and Garrick did not re-engage her for the following season. She turned to the provincial stage and made her reputation at Bath from 1778 to 1782, when she was acclaimed in the roles that subsequently made her famous: Constance in King John, Queen Katherine in Henry VIII, and Lady Macbeth. When she returned to the London stage in the early 1780s she swept all before her with the intensity of her performances, especially in tragic roles. Her portrayals of vulnerable, betrayed or thwarted women appear to have resonated powerfully with the female members of her audience. Her performance of Lady Macbeth, in particular, was legendary: illustrations of her in the role circulated widely, and it remains definitive to this day. She played many Shakespearean roles opposite her brother John Philip, and her performances of Queen Katherine and of Volumnia (in Coriolanus) contributed to the success of her brother's productions of Shakespeare in the Romantic period.

Woffington, Margaret (Peg) (1720?–60), actress. Like those of many eighteenth-century Shakespeareans, her formative years were on the Dublin stage, and she divided her career between Dublin and London. She played a wide variety of Shakespearean roles and achieved early success as Cordelia. She played Queen Anne opposite Garrick's celebrated Richard III. For several years she was in an affair with Garrick, who considered marriage, but their relationship foundered. She was assertive in the pursuit of her career and profession, and as a result her personal reputation suffered in later years.

Woodward, Henry (1714–77), actor and pantomime player. He began his career in pantomime, taking on the prime role of Harlequin after training under John Rich, manager of the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre. From this beginning, he branched out into straight acting parts, where he excelled in comic roles, building on his experience as a pantomimist. From 1748, he worked under Garrick, winning acclaim in the role of Mercutio and playing Petruchio opposite Kitty Clive.

Yates, Mary Ann (1728–87), actress and theatre manager. As a Shakespearean actress, she performed tragic roles with Garrick in the 1760s, supporting and eventually succeeding Susannah Cibber and Hannah Pritchard. Among her roles were Cleopatra, Constance, Imogen, Desdemona and Cordelia. In 1767 she moved to Covent Garden under Colman, where she expanded her repertoire of Shakespeare roles. Between the death of Cibber and the ascendance of Sarah Siddons, she was the leading tragic actress on the London stage. In 1773 she briefly joined with Frances Brooke in managing the King's Theatre, where opera was performed.

3.3 Eighteenth-century commentary on staging and performance

For eighteenth-century critical commentary not specifically focussed on contemporary performance, see section 2.2, above. For guides to eighteenth-century periodicals and performance reviews, see sections 2.4 and 2.5, above.

Anon., A Letter to Colley Cibber, Esq.; on His Transformation of King John (London: M. Cooper, 1745). An attack on Cibber's 1745 adaptation of King John.
Cibber, Theophilus, [Epistle] to David Garrick, Esq.; with Dissertations on Theatrical Subjects (London: W. Reeves, 1759). Commentary on current state of the theatre.
Davies, Thomas, Dramatic Micellanies [sic]: Consisting of Critical Observations on Several Plays of Shakspeare: with a Review of His Principal Characters, and Those of Various Eminent Writers, as Represented by Mr. Garrick, and Other Celebrated Comedians, 3 vols. (London: Printed for the author, 1784).
Davies, ThomasMemoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq. . . . The Whole Forming a History of the Stage, Which Includes a Period of Thirty-Six Years (London: Printed for the author, 1780).
Foote, Samuel, A Treatise on the Passions, so Far as They Regard the Stage; with a Critical Enquiry into the Theatrical Merit of Mr. G[arric]k, Mr. Q[ui]n, and Mr. B[arr]y. The First Considered in the Part of Lear, the Two Last Opposed in Othello (London: C. Corbet, 1747). A discussion of how to perform Shakespearean roles, with a comparison of contemporary acting styles.
Garrick, David, ‘Some Critical Observations upon the Character of Macbeth, as It Is at Present Attempted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane’, in An Essay on Acting: in Which Will Be Consider’d the Mimical Behaviour of a Certain Fashionable Faulty Actor (London: W. Bickerton, 1744), pp. 12–27. Garrick comments ironically on his own style of acting.
Gentleman, Francis, The Dramatic Censor; or, Critical Companion, 2 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1770). A collection of essays commenting on theatrical representations on the eighteenth-century stage. About one third of Gentleman's pages are devoted to Shakespeare.
Gentleman, FrancisIntroductions and Notes to the plays in Bell's Edition of Shakespeare's Plays, As They Are Now Performed at the Theatres Royal in London, Regulated from the Prompt Books of Each House . . . With Notes Critical and Illustrative . . . by the Authors of the Dramatic Censor, 9 vols. (London: J. Bell, 1774). Gentleman's notes address primarily questions of staging, performance and textual adaptation; the edition as a whole was presented as a playgoer's ‘companion to the theatre’.
Hill, Aaron, and WilliamPopple, The Prompter (London: T. Cooper, 1735–7). A theatrical paper, with several nos. (57, 95, 100) that focus on Shakespeare.
Hill, John, The Actor: a Treatise on the Art of Playing. Interspersed with Theatrical Anecdotes, Critical Remarks on Plays, and Occasional Observations on Audiences (London: R. Griffiths, 1750). Some shrewd critical observations on staging Shakespeare.
Morgan, MacNamara [attrib.], A Letter to Miss Nossiter. Occasioned by Her First Appearance on the Stage: in Which Is Contained Remarks upon Her Manner of Playing the Character of Juliet (London: W. Owen, 1753).
Murphy, Arthur, Gray's-Inn Journal (London, 1753–4; repr. in 2 vols., London: P. Vaillant, 1756).
Murphy, Arthur‘The Theatre’, The London Chronicle: or Universal Evening Post (1757–8). Murphy also contributed to The Entertainer (1754), The Test (1756–7) and The Auditor (1762–3).
Pilon, Frederick, An Essay on the Character of Hamlet as Performed by Mr. Henderson, at the Theatre Royal in the Hay-Market (London: W. Flexney, 1777).
Potter, John, The Theatrical Review; or, New Companion to the Play-house (London: S. Crowder et al., 1772). A collection of theatre reviews originally published in the Public Ledger and elsewhere.
Shebbeare, John, Letters liv and lix in Letters on the English Nation, 2 vols. (London, 1755), vol. Ii, pp. 232–48, 283–96. Remarks on performances of Othello and King Lear. The text of Letter Lix (pp. 283–96) was reproduced without acknowledgement in Joseph Pittard, Observations on Mr. Garrick's Acting; in a Letter to the Right Hon. the Earl of Chesterfield (London: J. Cooke and J. Coote, 1758).
Zunshine, Lisa (ed.), Acting Theory and the English Stage, 1700–1830, 5 vols. (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009). Includes excerpts from periodicals such as The Censor (1717) and The Prompter (1734–6), as well as other important texts on eighteenth-century acting.

3.4 Modern critical studies: staging and adapting Shakespeare

3.4.1 Key modern reference works

The London Stage, 1660–1800; a Calendar of Plays, Entertainments and Afterpieces, Together with Casts, Box-receipts and Contemporary Comment. Compiled from the Playbills, Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period, 5 vols. in 11(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1960–8): Part 1: 1660–1700, ed. W. Van Lennep, introd. E. L. Avery and A. H. Scouten; Part 2: 1700–1729, ed. E. L. Avery, 2 vols.; Part 3: 1729–1747, ed. A. H. Scouten, 2 vols.; Part 4: 1747–1776, ed. G. W. Stone, 3 vols.; Part 5: 1776–1800, ed. C. B. Hogan, 3 vols.; Index to The London Stage, compiled by Ben Ross Schneider, Jr (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979). Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume are currently engaged in a project to update The London Stage; a draft of parts of the updated version (for 1700–11) is currently accessible online. See Milhous and Hume, ‘The London Stage, 1660–1800: A New Version of Part 2, 1700–1729’,

Arnott, James Fullarton, and JohnWilliam Robinson, English Theatrical Literature, 1559–1900: A Bibliography, Incorporating Robert W. Lowe's A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature (London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1970).
Danchin, Pierre (ed.), The Prologues and Epilogues of the Eighteenth Century: A Complete Edition (Nancy: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1990–).
Danchin, Pierre(ed.), The Prologues and Epilogues of the Restoration, 1660–1700: A Complete Edition, 7 vols. (Nancy: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1981–8).
Genest, John, Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830, 10 vols. (Bath: H. E. Carrington, 1832).
Halstead, William P., Shakespeare as Spoken: A Collation of 5000 Acting Editions and Promptbooks of Shakespeare, 12 vols. (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, 1977–9); Statistical History of Acting Editions of Shakespeare: A Supplement to Shakespeare as Spoken, vols. Xiii–Xiv of Shakespeare as Spoken, 14 vols. (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1983).
Hogan, Charles Beecher, Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701–1800: A Record of Performances in London, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952–7).
Odell, George Clinton Densmore, Shakespeare from Betterton to Irving, 2 vols. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1920).

3.4.2 Modern critical studies

Avery, Emmett L., 1 Henry IV and 2 Henry IV during the First Half of the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 44 (1945), 89–90.
Babcock, Robert Witbeck, ‘The Attack of the Late Eighteenth Century upon Alterations of Shakespeare's Plays’, Modern Language Notes, 45 (1930), 446–51.
Baugh, Christopher, ‘ “Our Divine Shakespeare, Fitly Illustrated”: The Staging of Shakespeare, 1660–1900’, in Shakespeare in Art, ed. Jane Martineau and Desmond Shawe-Taylor (London; New York: Merrell, 2003), pp. 29–39.
Baugh, Christopher, ‘Three Loutherbourg “Designs”’, Theatre Notebook, 47 (1993), 96–103.
Billigheimer, Rachel V., ‘Diversity in the Hamlets of the Eighteenth-Century Stage in England, France and Germany’, Hamlet Studies, 11 (1989), 34–48.
Boaden, James, Memoirs of the Life of John Philip Kemble, Esq.: Including a History of the Stage, from the Time of Garrick to the Present Period (London: Longmanet al., 1825).
Branam, George Curtis, Eighteenth-Century Adaptations of Shakespearean Tragedy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956).
Burnim, Kalman A., David Garrick: Director (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1961).
Burnim, Kalman A.‘Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Illustrations in the Light of Contemporary Documents’, Theatre Notebook, 14 (1960), 45–55.
Burwick, Frederick, ‘John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery and the Stage’, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 133 (1997), 54–76.
Cadwallader, John, ‘Theobald's Alleged Shakespeare Manuscript’, Modern Language Notes, 55 (1940), 108–9.
Castle, Edward, ‘Theobalds Double Falshood und The History of Cardenio von Fletcher und Shakespeare’, Archi