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A pleasant conceited historie, called The taming of a shrew.
1594
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69594, title page

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Title: A pleasant conceited historie, called The taming of a shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honorable the Earle of Pembrook his seruants
Date: Printed at London : By Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his shop at the Royall Exchange, 1594
Repository: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, USA
Call number and opening: 69594, title page
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Item Title
A pleasant conceited historie, called The taming of a shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honorable the Earle of Pembrook his seruants
Item Date
Printed at London : By Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his shop at the Royall Exchange, 1594
Repository
Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, USA
Call Number
69594, title page

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Huntington Library has graciously contributed the above images from their collections. Visitors may link to or download these images for personal research or non-commercial publication. As a matter of good scholarly practice and for the benefit of future researchers, we ask that researchers using reproductions of our materials give appropriate credit when quoting from or reproducing an item in the Huntington collections. Images should be captioned with information about the original source, and quotations should be footnoted. For more information about The Huntington's reproduction policy and citation guidelines, please visit their webpages.

Copy-specific information
Title: A pleasant conceited historie, called The taming of a shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the Right honorable the Earle of Pembrook his seruants
Date: Printed at London : By Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his shop at the Royall Exchange, 1594
Repository: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, USA
Call number and opening: 69594, title page
View online bibliographic record

 

In 1594, Peter Short printed an anonymous play called The Taming of a Shrew to be sold by Cuthbert Burby. The title page records that this play was performed by Pembroke’s Men; a play with this title was also possibly performed by the Lord Admiral’s and Chamberlain’s men, though this may have been Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. This play is a different play than Shakespeare’s, which was not printed until the 1623 First Folio, but the two are intimately connected. In the Taming of a Shrew, several of the characters have different names; Kate has two younger sisters; and the framing device featuring Sly continues throughout the play, rather than disappearing as in Shakespeare’s text. Martin Wiggins outlines four possibilities for the 1594 play’s relationship to The Shrew:

a) an original play that was Shakespeare’s source.
b) an early draft of Shakespeare’s play.
c) a pirated or otherwise unauthorised version of Shakespeare’s play.
d) a play written in imitation of Shakespeare’s. (Wiggins 2013, 235)

However, it remains unclear which play was written or performed first.

A Shrew was reprinted in 1596, and then again in 1607 after Nicholas Ling (who had previously published the quartos of Hamlet) acquired the rights. Following the publication of The Shrew in 1623, all editors of Shakespeare’s work used that version of the text. However, Alexander Pope began the editorial tradition of incorporating the framing material from A Shrew featuring Christopher Sly into his text of The Shrew in order to complete that plot, a decision which many contemporary productions continue to adopt.

There is no consensus on the play’s authorship, and several candidates have been suggested. However, recent scholarship is more inclined to view the play as a variant version of Shakespeare’s. A full edition of the play by Stephen Roy Miller was published in the Cambridge “Early Quartos” series (1998) and Barbara Hodgdon includes a full facsimile for comparison in her Arden edition.

 

 

Written by Peter Kirwan

Barbara Hodgdon, ed., The Taming of the Shrew (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2010).

Stephen Roy Miller, ed., The Taming of a Shrew: The 1594 Quarto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Martin Wiggins, British Drama 1533-1642: A Catalogue, Volume III: 1590-1597 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).