Chronology of Shakespeare's plays

Possible order of composition of Shakespeare's plays / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article presents a possible chronological listing of the composition of the plays of William Shakespeare.

Edmond Malone was the first scholar to construct a tentative chronology of Shakespeare's plays in An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays attributed to Shakspeare were Written (1778), an essay published in the second edition of Samuel Johnson and George Steevens' The Plays of William Shakespeare.

Shakespearean scholars, beginning with Edmond Malone in 1778, have attempted to reconstruct the relative chronology of Shakespeare's oeuvre by various means, using external evidence (such as references to the plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries in both critical material and private documents, allusions in other plays, entries in the Stationers' Register, and records of performance and publication), and internal evidence (allusions within the plays to contemporary events, composition and publication dates of sources used by Shakespeare, stylistic analysis looking at the development of his style and diction over time, and the plays' context in the contemporary theatrical and literary milieu). Most modern chronologies are based on the work of E.K. Chambers in "The Problem of Chronology" (1930), published in Volume 1 of his book William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems.