The Duchess of Malfi

The 1623 quarto

The Duchess of Malfi was first performed between 1613 and 1614 by the King's Men, an acting group to which Shakespeare belonged. The printer was Nicholas Okes and the publisher was John Waterson. However, the play was not printed in quarto (a smaller, less expensive edition than the larger folio) until 1623. The title page of this particular edition tells us that the play was printed privately. The title page also informs readers that the play text includes numerous passages that were cut for performance. The 1623 quarto is the only substantive version of the play in circulation today, and modern editions and productions are based on it. Notable is that, on the title page of the 1623 quarto, a clear distinction is drawn between the play in performance and the play as a text to be read. [13]


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