Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works

Michael Neill writes:

While similar in shape and dimensions to its Oxford predecessor, the Collected Middleton is even longer and heavier. Although it contains only 29 plays to its rival’s 38, it is bulked up with nearly four hundred pages of non-dramatic and occasional writing. In addition, each text has a full critical introduction, much more substantial than those in the Oxford Shakespeare. This is a sensible concession to the relative unfamiliarity of Middleton’s work, although the historical particularity of some of the minor writing can produce introductions longer than the pamphlets they anatomise. There is also an even more generously conceived Companion. The two volumes are elaborately cross-referenced; and, as Taylor’s instructions on ‘How to use this book’ indicate, a good deal of effort has gone into making the Companion as user-friendly as possible – an effect marred only by the maddening decision to order the textual notes by the date of each work’s original publication, while the texts themselves are arranged in order of composition, giving a completely different sequence.

(LRB 4 December 2008)

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