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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: "Reading" the Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0368  Thursday, 7 February 2002

From:           J. D. Jowett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Feb 2002 20:05:41 -0000
Subject: 13.0352 Re: "Reading" the Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0352 Re: "Reading" the Plays

The answer to Jack Heller's question about the first (extant) plays to
be printed in English is to be found in W.W. Greg's invaluable
Bibliography of English Printed Drama to the Restoration.  The early
editions are mostly undated, and they precede the Stationers' Register,
so dating is often speculative.  In Greg's judgement the first five
plays are:

1 & 2 Fulgens and Lucrece (1512-1516?)
Hycke Scorner (?1515-6)
The Summoning of Every Man (1510-?1519)
The World and the Child (dated on the title page 17 July 1522)

On The Summoning of Every Man, Greg comments:  'The fact that the four
known copies belong to as many different editions affords ground for
some inference as to the number of editions printed.  The chances would
be against such a distribution unless there had been at least ten'.  So
an early best seller.

John Jowett

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