Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra

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Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra was never printed that we know of till in the folio of 1623. As to the time when it was written, the most that we have to proceed upon, aside from the qualities of the work itself, is an entry at the Stationers' by Edward Blount, May 20, 1608, of "a book called Antony and Cleopatra." Whether Shakespeare's drama were the "book" referred to in this entry, is something questionable, as the subject was at that time often written upon, dramatically or otherwise. Of course the entry was made with the design of publication; so that, if it refer to the play in hand, either such design must have miscarried, or else the edition has been utterly lost. Blount was one of the publishers of the first folio; and in the entry made by him and Jaggard at the Stationers', November 8, 1623, Antony and Cleopatra is among the plays set down as "not formerly entered to other men." Which certainly favours the conclusion that the entry of 1608 referred to the same play.

There is perhaps no point in the early history of the English stage more certain than that the theatrical companies took every precaution in order to keep their plays out of print. And we have strong ground for believing that, after the edition of Hamlet in 1604, there was no authorized issue . . .

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