(Clarisse Loughrey’s article appeared in the Independent, 5/2.)

There's are two versions of Shakespeare's great, mournful tragedy King Lear.

The 1608 Quarto version and the 1623 Folio: with the former containing 100 lines absent from the latter, and the latter containing 300 lines absent from the former. A curious state, yet for centuries the two have been combined in an attempt to create what was conceived as the 'full' King Lear.

However, a revisionist movement in the '70s and '80s claimed Shakespeare himself had shortened the Folio; and that, in fact, the two copies existed as separate versions of the play. Though a conflated version of both copies is still most regularly performed, many now consider the Folio the more perfected and more authoritative version. 


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