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Asithath beenesundry times pub-
ÇImprinted at London, for Toomas Fisher, and are to
in Flecteffreetė. 1600.
FACSIMILE OF TITLE-PAGE, FIRST QUARTO (FISHER'S QUARTO)
ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL
BY HENRY N. HUDSON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The Athen æum Press GINN AND COMPANY. PROPRIETORS. BOSTON • U.S.A.
The text of this edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream is based upon a collation of the Quartos of 1600, the seventeenth century Folios, the Globe edition, the Cambridge (W. A. Wright) edition of 1891, and that of Delius (1882). As compared with the text of the earlier editions of Hudson's Shakespeare, it is conservative. Exclusive of changes in spelling, punctuation, and stage directions, very few emendations by eighteenth century and nineteenth century editors have been adopted; and these, with every variation from the First Folio, are indicated in the textual notes. These notes are printed immediately below the text, so that a reader or student may see at a glance the evidence in the case of a disputed reading, and have some definite understanding of the reasons for those differences in the text of Shakespeare which frequently surprise and very often annoy. Such an arrangement should be of special help in the case of a play universally read and very often acted, as no two actors or interpreters agree in adhering to one text. A consideration of the more poetical, or the more dramatically effective, of two variant readings will often lead to rich results in awakening a spirit of discriminating interpretation and in developing true creative criticism. In no sense is this a textual variorum edition. The variants given are only those of importance and high authority.
The spelling and the punctuation of the text are modern except in the case of verb terminations in -ed, which, when the e is silent, are printed with the apostrophe in its place. This is the general usage in the First Folio. The important contractions in the First Folio which may indicate Elizabethan pronunciation ('i' th’' for 'in the,' for example) are also followed. Modern spelling has to a certain extent been adopted in the text variants; but the original spelling has been retained wherever its peculiarities have been the basis for important textual criticism and emendation.
With the exception of the position of the textual variants, the plan of this edition is similar to that of the old Hudson Shakespeare. It is impossible to specify the various instances of revision and rearrangement in the matter of the Introduction and the interpretative notes, but the endeavor has been to retain all that gave the old edition its unique place and to add the results of what seems vital and permanent in later inquiry and research. In this edition, as in the volumes of the series already published, the sections entitled Sources, Date of Composition, Early Editions, Versification and Diction, Scene of Action, Duration of Action, Title of the Play, Dramatic Construction and Development, with Analysis by Act and Scene, and Stage History, are wholly new. In this edition, too, is introduced a chronological chart, covering the important events of Shakespeare's life as man and as author, and indicating in parallel columns his relation to contemporary writers and events. As a guide to reading clubs and literary societies, there has been appended to the Introduction a table of the distribution of characters, giving the acts and scenes in which each character appears and the number of lines spoken by each. The index of words and phrases has been