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8 Work titles in text

8.4 References to Shakespeare

The standard Oxford edition of Shakespeare is The Complete Works, edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor (Oxford University Press, 1986, compact edn 1988). No single accepted model exists for abbreviating the titles of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, although in many cases the standard modern form by which the work is commonly known may be thought to be abbreviated already, since the complete original titles are often much longer. For example, The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster is best known as The Second Part of King Henry VI, and The Comical History of the Merchant of Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of Venice as The Merchant of Venice. The table below shows the more commonly found forms used by scholars. Column two gives the forms used in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary; column three gives those specified for the Oxford editions series. Column four lists still shorter forms, which are useful where space is at a premium and in the references of specialist texts where familiarity with the conventions is assumed.

Title of work

Standard abbreviations

Short abbrev.

All’s Well that Ends Well

All’s Well

All’s Well

AWW

Antony and Cleopatra

Ant. & Cl.

Antony

Ant.

As You Like It

AYL

As You Like It

AYL

The Comedy of Errors

Com. Err.

Errors

Err.

Coriolanus

Coriol.

Coriolanus

Cor.

Cymbeline

Cymb.

Cymbeline

Cym.

Hamlet

Haml.

Hamlet

Ham.

The First Part of King Henry IV

1 Hen. IV

1 Henry IV

1H4

The Second Part of King Henry IV

2 Hen. IV

2 Henry IV

2H4

The Life of King Henry V

Hen. V

Henry V

H5

The First Part of King Henry VI

1 Hen. VI

1 Henry VI

1H6

The Second Part of King Henry VI

2 Hen. VI

2 Henry VI (Contention)

2H6

The Third Part of King Henry VI

3 Hen. VI

3 Henry VI (True Tragedy)

3H6

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry VIII

Hen. VIII

Henry VIII (All Is True)

H8

The Life and Death of King John

John K.

John

Jn.

Julius Caesar

Jul. Caes.

Caesar

JC

King Lear

Lear

Lear

Lr.

A Lover’s Complaint

Compl.

Complaint

LC

Love’s Labour’s Lost

LLL

LLL

LLL

Macbeth

Macb.

Macbeth

Mac.

Measure for Measure

Meas, for M.

Measure

MM

The Merchant of Venice

Merch. V.

Merchant

MV

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Merry W.

Merry Wives

Wiv.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Mids. N D.

Dream

MND

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado

Much Ado

Ado

Othello

Oth.

Othello

Oth.

Pericles

Per.

Pericles

Per.

The Passionate Pilgrim

Pilgr.

P. Pilgrim

PP

The Phoenix and the Turtle

Phoenix

Phoenix

Ph.T.

The Rape of Lucrece

Lucr.

Lucrece

Luc.

The Tragedy of King Richard II

Rich. II

Richard II

R2

The Tragedy of King Richard III

Rich. III

Richard III

R3

Romeo and Juliet

Rom. & Jul.

Romeo

Rom.

Sonnets

Sonn.

Sonnets

Son.

The Taming of the Shrew

Tam. Shr.

Shrew

Shr.

The Tempest

Temp.

Tempest

Tmp.

Timon of Athens

Timon

Timon

Tim.

Titus Andronicus

Tit. A.

Titus

Tit.

Troilus and Cressida

Tr. & Cr.

Troilus

Tro.

Twelfth Night

Twel. N

Twelfth Night

TN

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gent.

Two Gentlemen

TGV

The Two Noble Kinsmen

Two Noble K.

Kinsmen

TNK

Venus and Adonis

Ven. & Ad.

Venus

Ven.

The Winter’s Tale

Wint. T.

Winter’s Tale

WT

‘F1 and ‘F2’ are sometimes used to mean the First Folio and Second Folio respectively, and ‘Q’ to mean the Quarto edition.

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