Hamlet in 1603, 1605, 1611, 1622, and 1637

The British Library has recently digitized 93 pamphlet editions of Shakespeare’s plays that were printed during his lifetime and a few decades after. His manuscripts no longer exist but these quartos are the closest record of his original work, and there are variations that make comparison between editions interesting. For example, according to Professor Ann Thompson of the King’s College London, the 1603 quarto of Hamlet is considered to be “bad” due to its shorter length and errors, but some productions value its brevity and accessible language. The 1605 quarto and an edition from 1623 are used together for the most complete version of the play. The digitized quarto are available for free viewing on the British Library’s website.

Richard Leis

Richard Leis

Richard Leis (he/him/his) lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes poetry and fiction, attends and teaches writing workshops at the Writers Studio Tucson, and works for HiRISE, a team in the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona with a camera in orbit around Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Verified Services

View Full Profile →