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Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick, has taken on the huge task of producing a new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. It is the first complete works based on Shakespeares First Folio, to be produced since 1709 and certainly the first of it's kind this century.
The production of this new collection is a partnership between the RSC and publishers Macmillan and Random House and has been an on-going process for the last 5 years. It has in fact taken 'twenty-person-years' to create with a team of 18 people working on the project.
Professor Bate believes that with the rapid moves forward in technology and the increasing reliance on the Internet, this could possibly be the last ever printed version of The Complete Works of Shakespeare - a bold comment but perhaps one with significant grounding. Not that he thinks there will no longer be a place for the 'physical text' but for research purposes the internet will play a major role.
At the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, Director Roger Pringle agrees that Shakespeare ranks as the most important written works in the history of western, if not world, literature, second only to the Bible.
It remains to be seen if this will be the last published written text of the Complete Works, but one thing remains certain, even after 300 years, William Shakespeare is as popular as ever.
-Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature. Department for English and Comparative Literary Studies.- University of Warwick
-Roger Pringle - Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust