Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 April 2021
This chapter tracks the history of digital editions of Shakespeare, from the very earliest texts produced for research purposes by scholars such as Dolores Burton, to the most recent editions, offered online or via app. Significant attention is paid to Grady Ward's Moby Shakespeare, which has served as the core text for a great number of online editions, garnering tens of millions of hits (at least) over the course of its existence. Certain key problems associated with digital texts are considered, including, most notably, issues of obsolescence (of both hardware and software) and complex financial issues. The particular utility of new technology in creating high-quality facsimiles is considered, as are the advantages of digital texts when creating variorum editions. The chapter concludes by noting the significant cultural shift that has occurred in recent times, whereby digital textuality has become a primary mode for more and more readers. It is anticipated that, while its particular advantages as a textual vehicle mean that the printed book is likely to endure, nevertheless, the digital edition is likely increasingly to dominate the Shakespeare textual world.