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Title page of The Tragedy of Macbeth

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. London: Jacob Tonson, 1709. 6 Volumes.
Call Number: (SPL)(SHAK) PR 2752 .R8 1709
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

Dramatis Personae

As a playwright, Nicholas Rowe has been called a skilled professional who proved "not quite good enough for posterity." He provided far better service to the literary world when he took on the task of editing Shakespeare. He divided all the plays into acts and scenes; he provided many of the stage directions which the general reader thinks of as original; he worked on the text "to remove corruptions and make it more intelligible." As the first named editor of Shakespeare and the force behind the first edition since the Folios, he and his edition have earned a place in history.

Some of the engravings in his text were apparently meant to reflect current theatrical productions. If so, the actors of his time carried on a practice of Shakespeare's theater -- wearing versions of everyday clothes whether they were playing Romans, Athenians or 14th-century Englishmen.

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Prepared by Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, and Sarah McDaniel