Publication and Shakepeare's Hamlet

Shakepeare's Publication: the Good, the So-So, and the Ugly

First Folio (The Good)

The First Folio is a 1633 publication of Shakespeare's plays, compiled by two King's Men actors named Hemmings and Condell, who sold it at a higher price than the quartos. Modern publishers prefer is as the most accurate printing of the Bard's works.

Good Quartos (The So-So)

The 'good quartos', released in 1604 and 1605, were more accurate to the text than the first editions of Shakespeare's plays. Their naming conventions and plots are consistent with those in the First Folio.

Bad Quartos (The Ugly)

The bad quartos were the original 18 publications of Shakespeare's work, consisting of mere notes taken by theater-goers which "hack poets" later fleshed out.

An Introduction to Hamlet

Attributions and Components

This particular version of the text was compiled utilizing the First Folio and the 2nd Quarto.

symbols (Superior Half-brackets) indicate that the enclosed words are either printed in different formats or modernized from the original text.

<symbols (Angle Brackets) indicate that the enclosed words are exclusively from the First Folio.>

[ symbols (Square Brackets) indicate that the enclosed words are exclusively from the 2nd Quarto.]


In order to provide a more effective reading experience, the editors modernized the spellings of Shakespearean words, and added stage directions and notes explaining meaning and pronunciation. The editors also included stage directions whenever they were certain that a particular action accompanied a line.


The editors have a few recommendations to help the reader enjoy the book: have a dictionary on-hand to facilitate understanding of words not defined in the explanatory notes, and attempt to imagine the actions playing out on stage.

Works Cited