The response to the identification of John Milton’s Shakespeare in 2019 was deservedly enthusiastic, but the excitement has perhaps resulted in some overstatement of what it tells us about Milton as a reader of Shakespeare or Milton as a textual critic. The marked-up First Folio is an unusual and noteworthy record of a reader’s engagement with the plays, but it does not tell us quite what we want it to, especially now that we know the reader was Milton. Ultimately it tells us less about his understanding of Shakespeare and his texts than about Milton’s understanding of textuality itself.

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