The Marlowe Society

Marlowe's Works

Marlowe's Works
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Dido

Dido, Queen of Carthage

History:

History:

Interpretation:

Interpretation:

Plot:

Plot:

References:

References:

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Textual History

The only contemporary publication of the play text was a Quarto edition printed in 1594, the year after Marlowe was killed in Deptford:

The
Tragedie of Dido
Queene of Carthage:
Played by the Children of her
Maiesties Chappell.
Written by Christopher Marlowe, and
Thomas Nash. Gent.

The extent of Nashe's involvement is considered under Authorship.

The edition was printed by the Widow Orwin for Thomas Woodcock. Woodcock died on 22 April of that year, which may imply publication in the earlier part of 1594. There is no record of the play in the Stationer's Register. The printing rights would appear to have been transferred by Woodcock's widow to Paul Linley in 1596, and perhaps from there on to John Flasket in 1600, but there were no further editions of the play printed at this time1.

Three copies of the original 1594 Quarto are extant:

  • one in the Bodleian Library, originally owned by Edmond Malone;
  • another copy in the Folger Library, which traces its ancestry back to George Steevens and the Duke of Devonshire's collection;
  • a third copy in the Huntingdon Library descends from the Earl of Bridgewater's collection.

The latter two in particular are in excellent condition, but all three provide consistent versions and there are no textual variants.

The next printed edition of Dido, Queen of Carthage probably did not appear for over two hundred years. Marlowe was beginning to earn some overdue attention from the Romantics at the start of the nineteenth century (for example, Charles Lamb in 18082, and William Hazlitt in 18203) and his plays also began to be revived on the stage4. Dido was selected for inclusion in Hurst's 1826 collection of plays by various authors, The Old English Drama, and also appeared in Robinson's Works of Christopher Marlowe published the following year.

Actor William Oxberry (1784-1824) printed some of Marlowe's other plays individually in 1818-20, and Dido was added when these were collected together in a single publication, The Dramatic Works of Christopher Marlowe in 1827. Oxberry's editorial efforts are deemed somewhat hasty by critics, and the general impression is not enhanced by the title page which identifies the editor as "W.Oxberry, Comedian"!

Thereafter Dido, Queen of Carthage was included in most collected editions of Marlowe's plays, including [Dyce] (1850), [Cunningham] (1870), and [Bullen] (1885). It also appeared in editions of Nashe's works, most notably those edited by [Grosart] (1885) and [McKerrow] (1904-10).

 
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