King Lear, widely regarded as Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, survives in two substantially different early texts, the Quarto of 1608 and the First Folio of 1623. Since the 18th century, however, editors have fused these two documents to produce a third, composite text that forms the basis of
all modern productions and critical interpretations. Recently scholars have begun to challenge this editorial tradition, arguing that the Quarto and Folio texts represent distinct and coherent versions of the play that should not be combined. These essays, by an international team of scholars,
re-examine the early texts from a series of distinct but interlocking perspectives, in a wide-ranging discussion with profound implications for all readers of Shakespeare.