Crowning the Shakespeare 400th-anniversary year, The New Oxford Shakespeare was published in 2016-17, to present an entirely new consideration of all of Shakespeare's works, edited from first principles from the earliest base-texts, and drawing on the latest textual and theatrical scholarship.
The three interconnected print publications and the ground-breaking online edition were created by an international, intergenerational team of scholars under the leadership of Gary Taylor, the Shakespeare Institute’s John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan over a period of eight years, and represent the most sustained, demanding, and significant project in Jowett’s research career. The project's scope, depth, vision, and intermedial publication are designed to provide a perfect platform for the future of Shakespeare studies.
The three print volumes amount to over seven thousand pages. NOS is also available digitally through Oxford University Press’s resource Oxford Scholarly Editions Online as a resource that OUP is committed to develop further in the coming years. Further volumes presenting the ‘alternative versions’ of Shakespeare’s works are in preparation.
Jowett made a major contribution by editing specific plays, including the most textually challenging works: King Lear, Hamlet, Richard III, 3 Henry VI, Troilus and Cressida, and Macbeth.
In co-leading the project as a whole, he responded in practical terms to major challenges in the modelling of Shakespeare’s text with regard to alternate versions, collaborative authorship, early modern theatre culture and print culture, and contentious issues of textual transmission.
Jowett was the lead general editorof the two-volume Critical Reference edition, which opens with his General Introduction and his essay on textual error.
The edition made immediate impact on account of its claims for Christopher Marlowe’s contributions to parts of the Henry VI plays, which was taken up by the news media to the extent that it was reported on the front page of the Guardian. The New Oxford Shakespeare is establishing itself as the most incisive, provocative, and ground-shifting Shakespeare complete works since its predecessor in 1986-7.
- William Shakespeare, Complete Works, Critical Reference Edition, New Oxford Shakespeare, gen. ed. Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)
- William Shakespeare, Complete Works, Modern Critical Edition, New Oxford Shakespeare, gen. ed. Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)