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Select Chronology of Early Modern Drama

Studies in the Shakespeare Apocrypha are too often corrupted by an overly-weighted focus on Shakespeare himself, and the relationship of his plays to those disputed. While this is in itself of cultural and historical interest, it is of the utmost importance that any study of the disputed plays locate them in the wider dramatic climate. To this end, I am reading a wide range of plays from the period.

The table on this page contains a rough chronology of the plays I have read, drawn from the period in which the apocryphal plays first appeared. This table will be regularly updated as I continue my studies.

Dating is a contentious issue in early modern drama, and the dates here represent a mixture of fact and informed conjecture. The aim of this table is not to provide a definitive timeline, but rather to support my own reading by giving a sense of what was happening on the contemporary stage during the years in which the apocryphal plays first appeared. For plays where I have been unable to find any form of consensus over date, I have indicated this with a ? mark.

Ben JonsonThomas MiddletonJohn FletcherChristopher Marlowe
L-R: Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, Christopher Marlowe

Notes:
Plays that have been grouped in the Shakespeare Apocrypha are highlighted yellow.
Early texts for plays included in the Shakespeare First Folio are only listed up to 1623.

 Year (c.)  Title  Likely dramatist(s)  Early texts
1574?  The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth anon. Quartos (1598, 1617)
1582  The Arraignment of Paris  Peele Quarto (1584)
1583  Campaspe  Lyly Quartos (3 x 1584, 1591)
1632 Six Court Comedies collection
1584  Sappho and Phao Lyly Quartos (1584 x2, 1591)
1632 Six Court Comedies collection
1584  Galatea Lyly Quarto (1592)
1632 Six Court Comedies collection
1585  Dido, Queen of Carthage Marlowe/ Nashe(?) Quarto (1594)
1586 The Spanish Tragedy  Kyd (additions later by Jonson) Quartos (1592, 1594, 1599, 1602)
Seven more quartos until 1633
1586  The Weakest Goeth to the Wall anon. (Munday?) Quartos (1600, 1618)
1587  1 Tamburlaine Marlowe Octavo (1590)
1587  2 Tamburlaine Marlowe Octavo (1590)
1587?  Edmond Ironside anon. Manuscript
1588?  John a Kent and John a Cumber Munday Manuscript
1588  Dr. Faustus Marlowe A-text Quarto (1604)
B-text Quarto (1616)
1588  Endymion Lyly Quarto (1591)
1632 Six Court Comedies collection
1589  Orlando Furioso Greene Quartos (1594, 1599)
1589  The Troublesome Reign of King John anon. Quarto (1591)
1589 The Two Gentlemen of Verona Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1589  Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay Greene Quartos (1594, 1630, 1655)
1590?  King Leir and his Daughters anon. Quarto (1605)
1590  Midas Lyly Quarto (1592)
1632 Six Court Comedies collection
1590  Arden of Faversham Shakespeare(?), Kyd(?) Quartos (1592, 1599, 1633)
1590  Fair Em Kyd (?) Quartos (one undated, one 1631)
1590 The Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1590  2 Henry VI Shakespeare (and others?) Quartos (1594, 1600, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1590  The True Tragedy of
Richard III
anon. Quarto (1594)
1590  The Jew of Malta Marlowe Quarto (1633)
1590  Mucedorus anon.

Quartos (1598, 1606, 1610, 1611, 1613, ten more quartos until 1668)

1591  3 Henry VI Shakespeare (and others?) Octavo (1595), Quartos (1600, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1591  Locrine anon. Quarto (1595)
1664 Shakespeare Folio
1591  Edward II Marlowe Octavo (1594)
1592  Titus Andronicus Shakespeare/ Peele Quartos (1594, 1600, 1611)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1592  1 Henry VI Nashe/ Shakespeare/ Kyd? 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1592?  John of Bordeaux Chettle, Greene (and others?) Manuscript
1592  Soliman and Perseda Kyd Quartos (1599 x2)
1592  Sir Thomas More Munday/Chettle Manuscript
1592?  Jack Straw anon. Quartos (1593, 1604)
1592  Richard III Shakespeare Quartos (1597, 1598, 1602, 1605, 1612, 1622)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1592  1 Selimus  Greene Quarto (1594)
1592?/ 1602?  Thomas of Woodstock/ 1 Richard II anon. Manuscript
1593  The Massacre at Paris Marlowe Quarto (undated)
1593  George a Greene Greene Quarto (1599)
1593  The Old Wives Tale Peele Quarto (1595)
1594  Cornelia Kyd Quartos (1594, 1595)
1594  Edward III Shakespeare/ Kyd? Quartos (1596, 1599)
1594  The Comedy of Errors Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1594  Love's Labour's Lost Shakespeare Quarto (1598)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1594  A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare

Quartos (1600, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio

1594  Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare Quartos (1597, 1599, 1609, 1622)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1595  Richard II Shakespeare Quartos (1597, 1598 x2, 1608, 1615)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1595  King John Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1596  The Blind Beggar of Alexandria Chapman Quarto (1598)
1596  The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare Quartos (1600, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1596  1 Henry IV Shakespeare

Quartos (1598 x2, 1599, 1604, 1608, 1613, 1622)
1623 Shakespeare Folio

1596  The Merry Wives of Windsor Shakespeare Quartos (1602, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1596  2 Henry IV Shakespeare Quarto (1600)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1597  An Humorous Day's Mirth Chapman Quarto (1599)
1597  A Warning for Fair Women anon. Quarto (1599)
1598  The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntington Munday/Chettle Quarto (1601)
1598  Much Ado about Nothing Shakespeare

Quarto (1600)
1623 Shakespeare Folio

1598?  Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany Peele? Chapman?

Quarto (1654)

1598  The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntington Munday/Chettle

Quarto (1601)

1598  Every Man in his Humour Jonson Quarto (1601)
1616 Jonson Folio
1598  The Pilgrimage to Parnassus anon. Manuscript
1599  Histriomastix Marston Quarto (1610)
1599  Thomas Lord Cromwell anon. Quartos (1602, 1613)
1599  1 Sir John Oldcastle Munday, Drayton, Hathway, Wilson Quartos (1600, 1619)
1664 Shakespeare Folio
1599  Henry V Shakespeare Quartos (1600, 1602, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1599  1 and 2 Edward IV Heywood Quartos (1599, 1600, 1605, 1613, 1619, 1626)
1599  A Larum for London anon. Quarto (1602)
1599  Julius Caesar Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1599  Every Man out of His Humour Jonson Quartos (1600 x3)
1616 Jonson Folio
1599  The Shoemaker's Holiday Dekker Quartos (1600, 1610, 1618, 1624, 1631, 1657)
1599  As You Like It Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1599  1 Return from Parnassus anon. Manuscript
1599(?)  All Fools Chapman Quarto (1605)
1599  Antonio and Mellida Marston Quarto (1602)
1633 octavo collection
1599  Old Fortunatus Dekker Quarto (1600)
1600  Patient Grissel Dekker Quarto (1603)
1600  Hamlet Shakespeare Quartos (1603, 1604, 1611, 1622)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1600  Antonio's Revenge Marston Quarto (1602)
1633 octavo collection
1601  Twelfth Night Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1601  2 Return from Parnassus  anon. Manuscript
Quartos (1606 x2)
1601  May Day Chapman Quarto (1611)
1601  Poetaster Jonson Quarto (1602)
1616 and 1640 Jonson Folios
1601  Satiromastix Dekker Quarto (1602)
1602  The Merry Devil of Edmonton anon. Quartos (1608, 1612, 1617, 1626, 1631, 1655)
1602  Troilus and Cressida Shakespeare Quarto (1609)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1602?  Sir Thomas More (revised version) Munday/ Dekker/ Shakespeare/ Heywood/ Chettle Manuscript, first pub. 1844.
1602  The Gentleman Usher Chapman Quarto (1606)
1603  Sejanus, his Fall Jonson Quarto (1605)
1616 Jonson Folio
1603  The Malcontent Marston/ later additions by Webster Quartos (1604 x3)
1603  Measure for Measure Shakespeare/ later adaptation by Middleton? 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1603  A Woman Killed with Kindness Heywood Quartos (1607, 1617)
1603  The Tragedy of Hoffman Chettle Quarto (1631)
1603  The Fair Maid of Bristow anon. Quarto (1605)
1603  The Phoenix Middleton Quartos (1607, 1630)
1604  Othello Shakespeare Quarto (1622)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1604  When You See Me, You Know Me S. Rowley Quartos (1605, 1613, 1621, 1632)
1604  The Patient Man and the Honest Whore Middleton/Dekker Quartos (1604 x2, 1605, 1615, 1635)
1604  The Wise Woman of Hogsdon Heywood Quarto (1638)
1604  All's Well that Ends Well Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1604  Bussy D'Ambois Chapman Quartos (1607, 1641)
1604  Sir Thomas Wyatt Dekker/Webster Quartos (1607, 1612)
1604  The Widow's Tears Chapman Quarto (1612)
1604  Timon of Athens Shakespeare/ Middleton 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1604  Michaelmas Term Middleton Quartos (1607, 1630)
1604  The London Prodigal anon., attrib. Shakespeare Quarto (1605)
1664 Shakespeare Folio
1604  1 If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody Heywood Quartos (1605, 1606, 1608, 1610, 1613, 1623, 1632, 1639)
1605  Monsieur D'Olive Chapman Quarto (1606)
1605  A Trick to Catch the Old One Middleton Quartos (1608, 1616)
1605  A Mad World, My Masters Middleton Quartos (1608, 1640)
1605  King Lear Shakespeare Quartos (1608, 1619)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1605  2 If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody Heywood Quartos (1606, 1609, 1623, 1633)
1605  Eastward Ho Chapman/ Jonson/ Marston Quartos (1605 x3)
1605  Macbeth Shakespeare/ Middleton 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1605  The Yorkshire Tragedy Middleton/ Shakespeare? Quartos (1608, 1619)
1664 Shakespeare Folio
1606  The Miseries of Enforced Marriage  Wilkins Quartos (1607, 1611, 1629, 1637)
1606 The Puritan  Middleton Quarto (1607)
1664 Shakespeare Folio
1606  Volpone Jonson Quarto (1607)
1616 Jonson Folio
1606  The Revenger's Tragedy Middleton Quarto (1607)
1607  Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1607  The Knight of the Burning Pestle Beaumont Quartos (1613, 1635, 1650s)
1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1607  Your Five Gallants Middleton Quarto (1608)
1607  The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles Duke of Byron Chapman Quartos (1608, 1625)
1608  Pericles, Prince of Tyre Shakespeare/ Wilkins Quartos (1609 x2, 1611, 1619, 1630, 1635)
1623 Shakespeare Folio
1608  Coriolanus Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1608  The Faithful Shepherdess Fletcher Quarto (undated, c.1609-10)
1608  The Bloody Banquet Dekker/Middleton Quarto (1639)
1609  The Winter's Tale Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1609  Philaster; Or, Love Lies a-Bleeding Beaumont/Fletcher Quartos (1620, 1622, 1628, 1634, 1639, 1652, 1661 x2, 1689)
1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1609  Cymbeline Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1609  Epicene, or The Silent Woman Jonson 1616 Jonson Folio
1610 The Insatiate Countess Marston/Barksted/Machin Quartos (1613, 1616, 1631)
1610 Catiline Jonson Quartos (1611, 1637)
1616 and 1640 Jonson Folios
1610  The Tamer Tamed; or, The Woman's Prize Fletcher Manuscript
1647 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1610  The Alchemist Jonson Quarto (1612)
1616 Jonson Folio
1610  The Maid's Tragedy Beaumont/Fletcher

Quartos (1619, 1622, 1630)
1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio

1611  The Roaring Girl Middleton/ Dekker Quarto (1611)
1611  No Wit/Help Like a Woman's; or, The Almanac Middleton Octavo (1657)
1611  The Lady's Tragedy 
(The Second Maiden's Tragedy)
Middleton Manuscript
1611  The Tempest Shakespeare 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1611  The Atheist's Tragedy Tourneur Quarto (1611/2
1611  A King and No King Beaumont/ Fletcher Quartos (1619, 1625, 1631, 1639, 1655, 1611, 1676, 1693)
1679 Beaumont and Fletcher Folio
1612  The White Devil Webster Quartos (1612, 1631, 1665, 1672)
1613  The Honest Man's Fortune Field/ Fletcher/ Massinger Manuscript (1613)
1647 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1613  Cardenio/ Double Falsehood Shakespeare/ Fletcher/ Theobald 1727 edition by Theobald
1613  A Chaste Maid in Cheapside Middleton Quarto (1630)
1613  Henry VIII (All is True) Shakespeare/ Fletcher 1623 Shakespeare Folio
1613  Wit at Several Weapons Middleton/Rowley 1647 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1613  The Two Noble Kinsmen Shakespeare/ Fletcher Quarto (1634)
1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folio
1614  The Duchess of Malfi Webster Quartos (1623, 1640, 1678)
1614  Bartholomew Fair  Jonson Quarto (1631)
1641 Jonson Folio
1614  More Dissemblers Besides Women Middleton Octavo (1657)
1614  Valentinian Fletcher 1647 and 1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folios
1615  Women Beware Women Middleton Octavo (1657)
1615  The Widow Middleton Quarto (1652)
1616  The Witch Middleton Manuscript
1616  The Devil is an Ass Jonson 1641 Jonson Folio
1616  A Fair Quarrel Middleton/ Rowley Quartos (1617, 1622)
1618  An/The Old Law (A New Way to Please You) Middleton/ Rowley Quarto (1656)
1619  The Devil's Law-Case Webster Quarto (1623)
1620  The World Tossed at Tennis Middleton/Rowley Quarto (1620)
1621  The Witch of Edmonton Dekker/ Rowley/ Ford Quarto (1658)
1621  Anything for a Quiet Life Middleton/Webster Quarto (1662)
1622  The Birth of Merlin Rowley Quarto (1662)
1622  An Invention Middleton  
1622  The Changeling
Middleton/ Rowley
Quarto (1653)
1622  The Nice Valour; Or, The Passionate Madman Middleton 1647 and 1679 Beaumont/Fletcher Folios
1623  The Renegado Massinger Quarto (1630)
1623  The Spanish Gypsy Ford/Dekker/Middleton/Rowley Quartos (1653, 1661)
1624  The English Traveller Heywood Quarto (1633)
1624  A Game at Chess Middleton Quartos (2 x 1625)
Manuscripts (six)
1624  The Captives Heywood Manuscript
1625  A New Way to Pay Old Debts Massinger Quarto (1633)
1625  A Cure for a Cuckold Webster/ Rowley Quarto (1661)
1626  The Roman Actor Massinger Quarto (1629)
1629  The New Inn Jonson Octavo (1631)
1692 Jonson Folio
1630  Believe as You List Massinger Manuscript
1631  'Tis Pity She's a Whore Ford Quarto (1633)
1632  The Magnetic Lady Jonson 1641 Jonson Folio
1632  The City Madam Massinger Quarto (1658/9)
1641  The Cardinal Shirley  Six New Plays octavo collection (1653)