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Shakespeare in Company$

Bart van Es

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569311.001.0001

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(p.312) Appendix: Dates of composition for Shakespeare’s works

(p.312) Appendix: Dates of composition for Shakespeare’s works

Source:
Shakespeare in Company
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

This table represents the consensus of scholarly opinion on Shakespeare’s compositional chronology. For the date range of Shakespeare’s works I rely in the first instance on the conclusions of Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor’s William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (1987), which provides a comprehensive analysis of the evidence in each case. For all plays I have also checked the discussion on dating in the most recent Arden edition as well as in other relevant scholarship, but I reference this only where a significant conflict arises. Cases where I differ from Wells and Taylor’s dating are underlined and footnoted. The date listed for the Sonnets and Lover’s Complaint is that of publication (for an account of their likely extended period of composition see Complete Sonnets and Poems, ed. Colin Burrow (2002)).

1590–1

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

1590–1

The Taming of the Shrew

1591

2 Henry VI

1591

3 Henry VI

1592

1 Henry VI

1592–3

Richard III

1592–31

Titus Andronicus

1592–3

Venus and Adonis

1593–42

Additions to Sir Thomas More

1593–4

The Rape of Lucrece

1594

The Comedy of Errors

1594–5

Love’s Labour’s Lost

1595

Richard II

1595

Romeo and Juliet

1595

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1596

King John

1596–7

The Merchant of Venice

1596–7

1 Henry IV

1597–8

The Merry Wives of Windsor

1597–8

2 Henry IV

1598

Much Ado About Nothing

1598–9

Henry V

1599

Julius Caesar

1599–1600

As You Like It

1600–1

Hamlet

1601

Twelfth Night

1602

Troilus and Cressida

1603

Measure for Measure

1603–4

Othello

1604–5

All’s Well that Ends Well 3

1605–6

King Lear4

1606

Macbeth

1606

Antony and Cleopatra

1605–75

Timon of Athens

1607

Pericles

1608

Coriolanus

1609

Sonnets and Lover’s Complaint

1609–106

The Winter’s Tale

1610

Cymbeline

1611

The Tempest

1612–13

Cardenio [lost]

1613

Henry VIII

1613–14

The Two Noble Kinsmen

(p.313) (p.314)

Notes:

(1.) Bate’s Arden3 edition (1995) significantly changed the critical appreciation of Titus Andronicus, which was previously still often characterized as ‘a piece of crude and embarrassing juvenilia’ (3). His argument that the play was ‘written in late 1593 and first performed in January 1594’ has gained a great deal of support.

(2.) Wells and Taylor date the additions 1603–4 but their judgement differs radically from the preceding scholarly consensus. Gabrieli and Melchiori’s Revels edition (1990) re-asserts and strengthens W. W. Greg’s case for an early period of composition and sets the limits to 1593–4. For discussion see Chapter 14 above.

(3.) Wells and Taylor support this date range for All’s Well That Ends Well as their headline conclusion, although they think it possible the play was written as late as 1607. In the light of MacDonald P. Jackson, ‘Spurio and the Date of All’s Well that Ends Well’, Notes & Queries 48 (2001), 298–9, the critical consensus has shifted somewhat towards endorsement of the later date.

(4.) Both Wells and Taylor and Foakes’s Arden3 edition (1997) give this date range for the play’s composition. Wells and Taylor separate The History of King Lear (1605–6) from The Tragedy of King Lear, for which they suggest the year 1610. Foakes is more sceptical about such a definitive separation. Lear’s two versions are discussed in Chapter 9 of this monograph.

(5.) Wells and Taylor date the play 1605, which is certainly the earliest date possible, but Dawson and Minton’s Arden3 edition (2008) makes a very strong case for the year 1607.

(6.) Wells and Taylor date the play 1609; Pitcher’s Arden3 edition (2010) pushes the time of composition forward to late 1610.