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The Theatre of Shelley

Jacqueline Mulhallen

Note on the Text

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1Since there is no complete modern edition of Shelley’s drama, I have used a variety of texts.

  • 1 BSMIX, p. lxii.

2For Prometheus Unbound, Tasso and The Cenci I have used The Poems of Shelley edited by Kelvin Everest and Geoffrey Matthews, but I have also noted the stage directions in BSMIX which comprises the intermediate fair copy of Prometheus Unbound which Shelley transcribed into three notebooks for safe-keeping.1 For Hellas I have used Shelley’s Poetry and Prose edited by Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat (2002), supplemented by The Hellas Notebook; Bodleian MS adds e.7 edited by Donald H. Reiman and Michael Neth. I have used The Poetical Works of Shelley edited by Thomas Hutchinson and revised by Geoffrey Matthews, for Swellfoot the Tyrant, since it is based on the editio princeps.

3However, as the version of Charles the First in The Poetical Works of Shelley is inaccurate and the new editions of Charles the First in the Longman and the Johns Hopkins editions have not yet appeared, I have derived a text based upon The Charles the First Draft Notebook: A Facsimile of Bodleian MS adds. e.17, edited by Nora Crook, Shelley’s 1821-1822 Huntington Notebook: A Facsimile of Huntington MS. HM 2111, edited by Mary A. Quinn and the notes in the Hellas Notebook. I have received helpful information from Nora Crook on certain doubtful points and about her latest thoughts and revisions through which I have modified some of the readings, but the responsibility for the quotations remains mine. I have adopted the reading that appears to be Shelley’s latest intention. I have not shown cancels where a cancelled word is needed to complete the sense and I have expanded ampersands and silently corrected Shelley’s misspellings and miswritings, supplying minimal punctuation. This also applies to the text of the Fragments of an Unfinished Drama where I have used a text based on The Faust Draft Notebook: A Facsimile of Bodleian MS adds. e. 18, edited by Nora Crook and Timothy Webb.

4Shelley’s Notebooks are an endearing mixture of poems, accounts, doodles and jottings. He would commence one work at the front and another at the back with perhaps others in between. When page numbers are reversed in the facsimile editions, it is because they follow the page order of the Notebooks.

5I have used Shelley and His Circle, Vol. VI, edited by Donald H. Reiman for A Philosophical View of Reform, and Shelley’s Poetry and Prose edited by Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat for A Defence of Poetry. For other prose extracts, I referred to Shelley’s Prose, or, The Trumpet of a Prophecy, ed. By David Lee Clark.

6I have also used a number of contemporary collections of plays such as those published by Dolby, Cumberland or Longman, where an example will illuminate Georgian stage practice. In these collections, pages are either not numbered, or the numbering is confusing, so I have not given any numbers. The dates I give for Shelley’s own plays are when they are generally agreed to have been written rather than publication dates. Unless otherwise stated, the translations in the text are mine.


1 BSMIX, p. lxii.


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