The Arden Shakespeare is a long-running series of scholarly editions of the works of William Shakespeare. It presents fully edited modern-spelling editions of the plays and poems, with lengthy introductions and full commentaries. There have been three distinct series of The Arden Shakespeare over the past century, with the third series commencing in 1995 and concluding in January 2020.[1] Arden was the maiden name of Shakespeare's mother, Mary, but the primary reference of the enterprise's title is to the Forest of Arden, in which Shakespeare's As You Like It is set.[2]

First Series

The first series was published by Methuen. Its first publication was Edward Dowden's edition of Hamlet, published in 1899.[3] Over the next 25 years, the entire canon of Shakespeare was edited and published. The original editor of The Arden Shakespeare was William James Craig (1899–1906), succeeded by R. H. Case (1909–1944).[4] The text of The Arden Shakespeare, First series, was based on the 1864 "Globe" or Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, edited by William George Clark and John Glover,[5] as revised in 1891–93.[6]

The list of the first series is as follows:[7]

Editor Title Year of publication
Edward Dowden Hamlet 1899
Edward Dowden Romeo and Juliet 1900
W. J. Craig King Lear 1901
Michael Macmillan Julius Caesar 1902
Morton Luce The Tempest 1902
Edward Dowden Cymbeline 1903
H. C. Hart Othello 1903
Herbert Arthur Evans Henry V 1904
W. Osbourne Brigstoke All's Well That Ends Well 1904
H. C. Hart Love's Labour's Lost 1904
H. C. Hart The Merry Wives of Windsor 1904
H. Bellyse Balldon Titus Andronicus 1904
Henry Cuningham A Midsummer Night's Dream 1905
H. C. Hart Measure for Measure 1905
K. Deighton Timon of Athens 1905
R. Warwick Bond The Taming of the Shrew 1905
Charles Knox Pooler The Merchant of Venice 1905
R. Warwick Bond Two Gentlemen of Verona 1906
Morton Luce Twelfth Night 1906
K. Deighton Troilus and Cressida 1906
R. H. Case Antony and Cleopatra 1906
K. Deighton Pericles 1907
Ivor B. John King John 1907
Henry Cuningham The Comedy of Errors 1907
A. Hamilton Thompson Richard III 1907
H. C. Hart 1 Henry VI 1909
H. C. Hart 2 Henry VI 1909
H. C. Hart 3 Henry VI 1910
Charles Knox Pooler Poems 1911
Henry Cuningham Macbeth 1912
Ivor B. John Richard II 1912
F. W. Moorman The Winter's Tale 1912
J. W. Holme As You Like It 1914
R. P. Cowl, A. E. Morgan 1 Henry IV 1914
Charles Knox Pooler Henry VIII 1915
Charles Knox Pooler Sonnets 1918
W. J. Craig Coriolanus 1922
R. P. Cowl 2 Henry IV 1923
Grace R. Trenery Much Ado About Nothing 1924

Second Series

The second series began in 1946, with a new group of editors freshly re-editing the plays, and was completed in the 1980s, though the Sonnets never appeared. It was published by Methuen in both hardback and paperback. Later issues of the paperbacks featured cover art by the Brotherhood of Ruralists. The second series was edited by Una Ellis-Fermor (1946–58); Harold F. Brooks (1952–82), Harold Jenkins (1958–82) and Brian Morris (1975–82).[8] Unlike the first series, where each volume was based on the same textual source (The Globe Shakespeare), the individual editors of each volume of the second series were responsible for editing the text of the play in that edition.[9]

Editions in the second series
Editor Title Year Notes
Kenneth Muir Macbeth 1951
Richard David Love's Labour's Lost 1951
Kenneth Muir King Lear 1952
J.C. Maxwell Titus Andronicus 1953
Frank Kermode The Tempest 1954 Reprinted with revisions in 1957.
M. R. Ridley Antony and Cleopatra 1954 The introduction by Case from the First Series was reprinted.
J.H. Walter Henry V 1954
E. A. J. Honigmann King John 1954
John Russell Brown The Merchant of Venice 1955
T. S. Dorsch Julius Caesar 1955
J. M. Nosworthy Cymbeline 1955
Peter Ure Richard II 1956
Andrew S. Cairncross 2 Henry VI 1957
R. A. Foakes Henry VIII 1957
H. J. Oliver Timon of Athens 1959
M.R. Ridley Othello 1959
G. K. Hunter All's Well That Ends Well 1959
A. R. Humphreys 1 Henry IV 1960
F. T. Prince The Poems 1960 Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece
Andrew S. Cairncross 1 Henry VI 1962
R. A. Foakes Comedy of Errors 1962
F. D. Hoeniger Pericles 1963
J. H. P. Pafford The Winter's Tale 1963
Andrew S. Cairncross 3 Henry VI 1964
J. W. Lever Measure for Measure 1964
A. R. Humphreys 2 Henry IV 1966
Clifford Leech Two Gentlemen of Verona 1969
H. J. Oliver The Merry Wives of Windsor 1971
Agnes Latham As You Like It 1975
J. M. Lothian and Thomas W. Craik Twelfth Night 1975
Philip Brockbank Coriolanus 1976
Harold F. Brooks A Midsummer Night's Dream 1979
Brian Gibbons Romeo and Juliet 1980
A. R. Humphreys Much Ado About Nothing 1981
Anthony Hammond Richard III 1981
Brian Morris The Taming of the Shrew 1981
K. J. Palmer Troilus and Cressida 1982
Harold Jenkins Hamlet 1982

Third Series

The third series of The Arden Shakespeare began to be edited during the 1980s, with publication starting in the 1995 and concluding in 2020. The batch of plays that launched the series was especially notable for the edition by Jonathan Bate of Titus Andronicus, which played a major role in rehabilitating the critical reputation of Shakespeare's earliest tragedy.

The first editions in this series were published by Routledge, before moving to Thomson. They then moved to Cengage Learning. In December 2008, the series returned to Methuen, becoming part of Methuen Drama, its original publisher. From February 2013, the titles appeared under the Bloomsbury imprint.[10]

The editions in the third series were published very much in line with the traditions established by The Arden Shakespeare; however, editions in this series tended to be thicker than those of the first and second series, with more explanatory notes and much longer introductions. One unusual aspect of this series was its edition of Hamlet, which presents the play in two separate volumes. The first, released in 2006, contained an edited text of the Second Quarto (1604–05), with passages found only in the First Folio included in an appendix,[11] while the supplementary second volume, released a year later, contained both the text of the First Quarto (sometimes called the "bad" quarto) of 1603, and of the First Folio of 1623.[12] Other plays with "bad" quartos have them reproduced via photographs of each leaf of a surviving copy rather that deal with each textual anomaly on an individual basis.

The general editors for this series were Richard Proudfoot; Ann Thompson of King's College London; David Scott Kastan of Yale University; and H. R. Woudhuysen of the University of Oxford.


Editions that have been revised since first publication are marked with the year of revised publication in the 'Year' column.

Editions in the third series
Title Year Editor Notes
King Henry V 1995 (r. 1997[13])
  • T. W. Craik
Contains a complete photo facsimile of Q.
Antony and Cleopatra 1995
  • John Wilders
Titus Andronicus 1995 (r. 2018)
  • Jonathan Bate
Othello 1996 (r. 2016)
  • E. A. J. Honigmann
Ayanna Thompson contributed a new introduction to the 2016 revised edition.
The Two Noble Kinsmen 1996 (r. 2015)
  • Lois Potter
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.
King Lear 1997
  • R. A. Foakes
Contrary to the editors' decision to publish the three versions of Hamlet as three separate texts, Foakes' edition of King Lear is based upon a conflation of the quarto and folio texts of the tragedy, disregarding the practice established by the Oxford Shakespeare of treating them as two separate texts.
Shakespeare's Sonnets 1997 (r. 2010)
  • Katherine Duncan-Jones
Contains every poetic work included in the original Shakespeare's Sonnets quarto of 1609—that is, 154 sonnets, plus the narrative poem A Lover's Complaint (a work the authorship of which is often disputed).
Troilus and Cressida 1998 (r. 2015)
  • David Bevington
Love's Labour's Lost 1998
  • H. R. Woudhuysen
Julius Caesar 1998
  • David Daniell
King Henry VI Part 2 1999
  • Ronald Knowles
The Merry Wives of Windsor 1999
  • Giorgio Melchiori
Contains a complete photo facsimile of Q.
The Tempest 1999 (r. 2011)
  • Virginia Mason Vaughan
  • Alden T. Vaughan
King Henry VI Part 1 2000
  • Edward Burns
King Henry VIII 2000
  • Gordon McMullan
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and John Fletcher on the title page.
King Henry VI Part 3 2001
  • John D. Cox
  • Eric Rasmussen
King Richard II 2002
  • Charles R. Forker
King Henry IV Part 1 2002
  • David Scott Kastan
The Two Gentlemen of Verona 2004
  • William C. Carroll
Pericles, Prince of Tyre 2004
  • Suzanne Gossett
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and George Wilkins on the title page.
Much Ado About Nothing 2005 (r. 2016)
  • Claire McEachern
Hamlet 2006 (r. 2016)
  • Ann Thompson
  • Neil Taylor
Contains the Q2 (1604) text.
Hamlet: The Texts of 1603 and 1623 2007
  • Ann Thompson
  • Neil Taylor
Contains the Q1 (1603) and FF (1623) text. A supplementary volume to the main edition (above) based on Q2 (1604).
As You Like It 2006
  • Juliet Dusinberre
Shakespeare's Poems 2007
  • Katherine Duncan-Jones
  • H. R. Woudhuysen
Contains Shakespeare's two major narrative poems—Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece—as well as his metaphysical poem The Phoenix and the Turtle, plus several shorter works attributed to Shakespeare.
Twelfth Night 2008
  • Keir Elam
Timon of Athens 2008
  • Anthony B. Dawson
  • Gretchen E. Minton
The play is attributed to Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton on the title page.
King Richard III 2009
  • James R. Siemon
The Taming of the Shrew 2010
  • Barbara Hodgdon
Contains a complete photo facsimile of The Taming of a Shrew.
The Winter's Tale 2010
  • John Pitcher
The Merchant of Venice 2011
  • John Drakakis
Romeo and Juliet 2012
  • René Weis
Coriolanus 2013
  • Peter Holland
Macbeth 2015
  • Sandra Clark
  • Pamela Mason
King Henry IV Part 2 2016
  • James C. Bulman
The Comedy of Errors 2016
  • Kent Cartwright
Cymbeline 2017
  • Valerie Wayne
A Midsummer Night's Dream 2017
  • Sukanta Chaudhuri
King John 2018
  • Jesse M. Lander
  • J. J. M. Tobin
All's Well That Ends Well 2018
  • Helen Wilcox
  • Suzanne Gossett
Measure for Measure 2020[14]
  • A. R. Braunmuller
  • Robert N. Watson


The third series is also notable for publishing single-volume editions of certain plays that traditionally form part of the so-called Shakespeare Apocrypha, but for which there is considered good evidence of Shakespeare having at least been co-author. Three apocryphal plays were published in this manner.

Revised editions

Due to the long period of time over which the series was published, several editions listed above were re-issued in revised editions, The first—Shakespeare's Sonnets—was published in 2010, fifteen years after the series began. Eight editions have been reissued in revised form. Others contained minor revisions in later printings, such as Henry V,[16] but are not so noted on the title page.

Fourth Series

In March 2015, Bloomsbury Academic named Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, Zachary Lesser of the University of Pennsylvania, and Tiffany Stern of the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute as general editors of The Arden Shakespeare fourth series.[17]

Arden Early Modern Drama

In 2009, The Arden Shakespeare launched a companion series, entitled "Arden Early Modern Drama". The series follows the formatting and scholarly style of The Arden Shakespeare third series, but shifts the focus onto less well-known English Renaissance playwrights, primarily the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods (although the plays Everyman and Mankind hail from the reign of King Henry VII).

The general editors for this series are Suzanne Gossett of Loyola University Chicago; John Jowett of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; and Gordon McMullan of King's College London.

Complete Works

Arden Shakespeare has also published a Complete Works of Shakespeare, which reprints editions from the second and third series but without the explanatory notes.

Arden Performance Editions

In 2017, The Arden Shakespeare launched a new series of Performance Editions of Shakespeare's major plays, aimed specifically for use by actors and directors in the rehearsal room, and drama students in the classroom. Each edition features facing-page notes, short definitions of words, guidance on metre and punctuation, large font for easy reading, and plenty of blank space to write notes. The series editors are Professor Michael Dobson and Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall and leading Shakespearean actor, Simon Russell Beale. The series is published in association with the Shakespeare Institute.

Critical literature

The Arden Shakespeare has also published a number of series of literary and historical criticism to accompany The Arden Shakespeare Third Series and Arden Early Modern Drama imprints.


  1. ^ The edition adopts the belief that the play is the only surviving version of Shakespeare and Fletcher's lost tragicomedy Cardenio, revised by Lewis Theobald for eighteenth century audiences.
  2. ^ This edition identifies Shakespeare as one reviser of a play originally written by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle, the other revisers supposedly being Chettle, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Heywood, and the unidentified "Hand C".
  3. ^ Owing to the 2011 death of E. A. J. Honigmann, the original editor, the revision of this edition has been undertaken by Ayanna Thompson. This is the only instance in the series (so far) where the revising editor has been different to the original editor.


  1. ^ Arden Shakespeare Twitter account. Retrieved January 23, 2020
  2. ^ Juliet Dusinberre, introduction to "As You Like It", Arden Shakespeare, Third Edition
  3. ^ General Editors' Preference, The Tempest, Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series, 1999
  4. ^ Copyright page, "The Tempest", edited by Frank Kermode, Arden 2nd Series, 1954
  5. ^ General Preface, King Lear, The Arden Shakespeare, copyrighted 1917
  6. ^ General Editor's Preface by Una Ellis-Fermor, dated 1951, as printed in Macbeth, Arden Shakespeare, 2nd Series
  7. ^ The works of Shakespeare: London, Methuen [1899–1930]. Arden Shakespeare. Stanford University Library. 1899. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Copyright page, "Macbeth", edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden 2nd Series, printed 1994
  9. ^ GenPref2
  10. ^ See "Coriolanus", Arden Shakespeare, Third Series (published February 2013)
  11. ^ Preface, "Hamlet", Arden 3rd Series
  12. ^ "Hamlet, the Texts of 1603 and 1623", Arden Shakespeare, 3rd Series.
  13. ^ Bloomsbury 11th printing (2017) p. xxi
  14. ^ Bloomsbury Publishing Website. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Bloomsbury Publishing Website. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  16. ^ xxi
  17. ^ Deliyannides, Andrew. "Peter Holland Named General Editor of The Arden Shakespeare", University of Notre Dame, March 3, 2015.