In an excellent answer to one of my previous questions, verbose writes:

Since The Tempest is the first play printed in the First Folio, it was often assumed to be an early play. Scholars such as Edmond Malone and Edward Capell began tackling the chronology of Shakespeare's plays in the late 1700s. I have been unable to track down exactly where Malone and Capell placed The Tempest chronologically, as I don't have easy access to a university library and could not find the information online.

Some scholars now assume that The Tempest was printed as the first play in the First Folio because of the quality of the text that the printer could work from. Edmond Malone was the first scholar who tried to establish a chronology of Shakespeare's plays, namely in "An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays Attributed to Shakspeare Were Written", which was included in the first volume of The Plays of William Shakspeare (1778), a revised edition of Samuel Johnson's Shakespeare edition, created on co-operation with George Steevens.

The question is now where Malone put The Tempest in this first chronology. (He seems to have revised his chronology later; this question is specifically about the version published in 1778.)

  • 1
    There's a copy on the Internet Archive. Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 18:56
  • @GarethRees Heh, thanks. Some other link had take me to an edition from 1821. I can now answer my own question, I guess.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 19:17
  • Correction, it’s not Malone’s edition. It’s Samuel Johnson and George Steevens’s. Malone contributed this essay and a lot of notes, but he’s merely one of the “various contributors” mentioned on page 6 at the link.
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 22:53
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    @verbose Thanks, I have edited my question to correct this.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


"An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which the Plays Attributed to Shakespeare Were Written" can be found on pages 269 - 346 of the first volume of The Plays of William Shakespeare in Ten Volumes. The chronology itself can be found on pages 274-275. It starts with Titus Andronicus (1589) and ends with the following plays and years:

  • A Yorkshire Tragedy (1608; title italicized since attribution to Shakespeare is doubtful)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (1608)
  • Coriolanus (1609)
  • Timon of Athens (1610)
  • Othello (1611)
  • The Tempest (1612)
  • Twelfth Night (1614)

Malone's arguments for dating The Tempest to 1612 can be found on pages 341-342. These arguments include a "dreadful tempest" in England in late 1612 and the account of the sailor Edmond Pet, who narrowly survived a tempest at sea, but he eventually describes the dating of this play as "[not] a very improbable conjecture".

  • Oh cool! I’ll revise my answer to the other question based on this. Not sure how I missed finding this copy.
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 22:49

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