London: F.C. and J. Rivington et al., 1821
[S] YH 821
Edmond Malone (1741-1812) is regarded as the greatest eighteenth-century Shakespearean editor and commentator. He used the ten-volume edition by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens as his base text but went far beyond Johnson and Steevens in establishing an authoritative text, consulting early folios and quartos more thoroughly than any previous scholar had done. Moreover, using archives from London, Stratford and country houses, he both expanded biographical knowledge of Shakespeare and corrected errors which had been perpetuated from Rowe’s “Life of Shakespeare” onwards. He arranged the plays in their supposed order of composition, and he included the poems as a standard part of an edition.
The first edition of Malone’s Shakespeare appeared in 1790. But Malone died leaving much unfinished material. James Boswell the younger gathered this and, after almost a decade of preparation, published in 1821 in this 21-volume landmark edition which is known as the third variorum edition, and which became a staple of the Shakespeare reprint trade.