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A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy, of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and the merry vviues of VVindsor.
1619

STC 22300 copy 1, title page

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STC 22300 copy 1, title page
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Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

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Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy, of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and the merry vviues of VVindsor. VVith the swaggering vaine of Ancient Pistoll, and Corporall Nym. VVritten by VV. Shakespeare.
Date: [London] : Printed [by William Jaggard] for Arthur Iohnson [i.e. Thomas Pavier], 1619.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22300 copy 1, title page 
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Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy, of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and the merry vviues of VVindsor. VVith the swaggering vaine of Ancient Pistoll, and Corporall Nym. VVritten by VV. Shakespeare.
Item Date
[London] : Printed [by William Jaggard] for Arthur Iohnson [i.e. Thomas Pavier], 1619.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22300 copy 1, title page

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy, of Sir Iohn Falstaffe, and the merry vviues of VVindsor. VVith the swaggering vaine of Ancient Pistoll, and Corporall Nym. VVritten by VV. Shakespeare.
Date: [London] : Printed [by William Jaggard] for Arthur Iohnson [i.e. Thomas Pavier], 1619.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22300 copy 1, title page 
View online bibliographic record

Published in 1619, this second edition of The Merry Wives of Windsor was part of the collection of Shakespeare’s plays commonly known as the Pavier Quartos. The publisher, Arthur Johnson, also published the first edition in 1602. Although all the Pavier Quartos were printed at the same time by the same printer, William Jaggard, it seems that Pavier and Johnson reached an agreement to ensure that Johnson would be listed as publisher. At the very least, no evidence survives that Pavier’s publication of the play was unauthorized. (Nathaniel Butter, who owned the rights to King Lear, is similarly credited on the title page of the 1619 edition of that play, although its date is falsified.) Johnson continued to own the rights to Merry Wives until he sold them to Richard Meighen in 1630. The title page of this edition retains the attribution to Shakespeare.

Although this edition reproduces the text of the first, the most significant change occurs on the title page. The first edition advertises that the comedy is “Entermixed with sundrie variable and pleasing humors, of Syr Hugh the Welch knight, Iustice Shallow, and his wise cousin M. Slender.” However, that paragraph has been deleted on the 1619 title page, suggesting that by 1619 plays based on the four “humors” of Galenic medicine (melancholy, choleric, phlegmatic, and sanguine) had fallen out of style.

The copy shown above is one of eight owned by the Folger Shakespeare Library, and is also one of 27 listed in the English Short Title Catalogue. It bears the bookplate of William Gott, indicating that it is one of the books that Mr. and Mrs. Folger acquired from John Gott, Bishop of Truro.

To learn more about this The Merry Wives of Windsore, see the Folger's Shakespeare's Works and the British Library’s Shakespeare in Quarto.

 

Written by Rachel Clark

DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks. Ed. Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser. Created 2007. Accessed 6 October 2015. <http://deep.sas.upenn.edu>

English Short Title Catalogue. <http://estc.bl.uk>

W.W. Greg, “On Certain False Dates in Shakespearian Quartos.” The Library, 2nd series, 9 (1908): 113-31 and 381-409.

Hamnet: Folger Shakespeare Library catalog <hamnet.folger.edu>

Andrew Murphy,  Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
 

 

Last updated July 20, 2017