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TOPIC: Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND!

Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6796

OK, so according to my old theater professor the version of Hamlet we all know and love is a conflation of the first folio and the second quarto. And I assumed this version is the version on this site called the "full play". But according to this website's page where they show a matrix of the editions used to compile the texts which is [url=http://http://www.playshakespeare.com/text-sources]here[/url] they used the first folio and quartos 1 and 2. So I mean, how much of quarto 1 was included in this full play version on this site and where is it?

I'm also VERY confused about the issues of quartos and folios. I've been reading the information in the Arden Hamlet and God help me but it's so mind numbingly dense and I have to read a paragraph over and over. :S I know that most of this stuff doesn't have any clear answers and that's probably why the stuff in the Arden is confusing to me because I lose track of what I'm reading and I can't remember if what I just read is fact or theory. But my understanding is there are only theories about quarto 1 and one of them is that it's a rough draft. But I don't know much about the folio or quarto 2 off the top of my head. In the meantime I'll keep reading the info in the Arden book. It's funny, I can read Hamlet effortlessly and I have several times but this stuff makes me nuts.

And one more question:
I seriously don't get the stuff I've heard about (elsewhere) about "folded leaves" in a quarto! It's something like pages being folded four times or something. How can you fit an entire play in that?
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6797

Hello and welcome to PlayShakespeare.com! :)

Regarding the version of Hamlet on this site, yes it was a conflation of those three editions. There are errors in all three and we created the "best of" edition mainly consisting of the FF. There are a handful of items from Q1 and the best way to identify them is to compare against the Q1 facsimile in our library here:

www.playshakespeare.com/library/cat_view/430-hamlet-documents

Hamlet Q2 is also there for comparison. Yes, there are a few theories about Q1 and Q2—that they were an earlier draft of the play or legitimate alternate versions used for touring, etc.

The First Folio (FF) is widely considered to be the main source for almost all the plays. However, even various editions of the FF are a little different. So Hinman examined all the FF editions he could get his hands on at that time and put together a FF "best of". This is considered to be the best edition of the FF because it addresses most of the errors from edition to edition:

www.amazon.com/dp/0393039854/ref=as_li_s...WW4S2ECJ5RKPFK1YNY0&

As for the quarto's folded leaves, it was a way to save paper and make a book more portable. So a folio size sheet of paper was folded down to make four pages (or 8 if you count using both sizes of each page). You don't fit an entire play on one of those pages. The Hamlet Q1, for example, is 64 pages long as opposed to the FF edition which is 30 pages long (the Q1 is much shorter than the FF). Hopefully, that will become clear when you check out the files from our download library.
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6798

So they just kept inserting folded pages in until they had enough for the play?

Bear in mind I'm a visual learning for the most part so that's why I didn't think of this, but am I correct here?
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6799

Yes, that's correct.
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6810

Have you visited www.hamletworks.org? You may find many interesting things there.
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6814

  • Joe M.
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Here's yet another theory to add to the Folio confusion :)

www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jul/12/who...kespeare-john-florio

The theoretical, nit-picking tennis match is never-ending. Speculation falls in and out of favor, depending on which way the wind blows--or so it seems.
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 1 year 1 month ago #6815

  • Joe M.
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BTW Thanks to the PlayShakepeare team for all the work on compiling the library. Great stuff and much appreciated.
Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by Joe M.. Reason: specificity
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 11 months 3 weeks ago #6836

Thanks for your help everyone. I just have one more question.

So, the Hamlet script on this site which is called "full play" is the version of Hamlet we all know right? I recently read the Arden edition and then the "full play" script on this site and I'm pretty sure the answer to my question is yes but I just wanna check.
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Question about quartos, folios, etc. LOSING MY MIND! 11 months 3 weeks ago #6837

Yes, it's the full play, but keep in mind that each edition of the play is edited according to what the editors felt was the correct interpretation. The sources used for Hamlet on this site are here:

www.playshakespeare.com/text-sources

The ones used for the Arden are likely similar are slightly different. No two editions are alike.
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