In preparing this second edition I have chosen to rearrange, rewrite and add to the Introduction in order to take note both of theatrical productions and of critical works that have appeared since the first edition was prepared, rather than to present a separate ‘update’ essay, since I wished to continue to treat the performance history as integral to the critical commentary rather than distinct from it. The suggestions for further reading have also been updated and rearranged, while only minor emendments and corrections have been made to the appendixes, commentary and textual essay, to join the corrections already made in successive reprintings.
Performance history is a rapidly developing disciplinary area in its own right, but in this edition I use productions primarily as evidence for the possibilities the text has provoked and sustained, and for the second edition in particular have tried, where possible, to use examples I myself have seen. I have deliberately chosen not to attempt an exploration in any detail of the enormous number of productions of the play worldwide and in many languages, partly since it would be difficult indeed to set appropriate limits to such an enterprise, but also because many such productions fall, it seems to me, under the title of adaptations. The Tempest has, of course, generated a huge number of rewritings, adaptations, responses and creative critiques in poetry, film, drama, novel and opera. Their study, I would argue, is of a distinct kind – an important one, and one which is another significant growth area in Shakespeare studies, but one to which it would be difficult to do justice in a relatively short introduction to an edition of the play. I have therefore concentrated on a very few major examples of such adaptations which seem to me to raise specific issues in the criticism of the play itself. The interested reader is referred to the bibliography for studies which have focused on appropriation and adaptation.