It’s been an interesting week for the importance of editors. At the one end we’ve got the maybe-Cardenio, which has been through so many editors hands that it’s probably got little Shakespeare left. On the other we’ve got Barton and his Playing Shakespeare, where every comma and line break means something in how you build the character so you’d better pick the right version.
It’s a distinction I’ve never fully appreciated. I mean, I have the Complete Works on my iPhone. Similarly, if I need to lookup a quote while at my PC I will typically hit up the MIT collection. For my own personal projects I also keep the XML-formatted versions handy (the geek in me likes to process structured files rather than plain text). In none of these cases could I tell you *whose* version these are, or what that means.
When people speak of carrying around a First Folio, what edition are they talking about? I mean, I know what a First Folio is, but somebody point me to it on Amazon or something. How big, how much did it cost, who did the editing/publishing, etc?