The new Pelican Shakespeare series incorporates the more than thirty years of Shakespeare scholarship undertaken since the acclaimed original series, edited by Alfred Harbage, appeared between 1956 and 1967. The general editors of the new series of forty volumes-the renowned Shakespeareans Stephen Orgel of Stanford University and A. R. Braunmuller of UCLA-have assembled a team of eminent scholars who have, along with the general editors themselves, prepared new introductions and notes to all of Shakespeare's plays and poems. Redesigned in an easy-to-read format that preserves the favorite features of the original, including an essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare, an introduction to the individual play, and a note on the text used. The new Pelican Shakespeare will be an excellent resource for students, teachers, and theatre professionals well into the twenty first century.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and was baptised on 26 April 1564. His father was a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-to-do local land owner. Shakespeare was probably educated in Stratford's grammar school. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter the following year and twins in 1585. Shakespeare's theatrical life seems to have commenced around 1590. We do know that he was part of the Lord Chamberlain's Company, which was renamed the King's Company in 1603 when James I succeeded to the throne. The Company acquired interests in two theatres in the Southwark area of London, near the banks of the Thames - the Globe and the Blackfriars. Shakespeare's poetry was published before his plays, with two poems appearing in 1593 and 1594, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. Most of Shakespeare's sonnets were probably written at this time as well. Records of Shakespeare's plays begin to appear in 1594, and he produced roughly two a year until around 1611. His earliest plays include Henry VI and Titus Andronicus. A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Richard II all date from the mid to late 1590s. Some of his most famous tragedies were written in the early 1600s; these include Hamlet, Ot