Birds of Shakespeare: The cuckoo

Thanks to its peculiar reproductive cycle, distant migration, and haunting melodies, the cuckoo may hold the title for most folklore among Shakespeare’s birds.

Excerpt: Jonathan Bate’s preface to the RSC’s second edition of Shakespeare’s complete works

“To know Shakespeare thoroughly and read him well aloud, it was necessary to have a usable edition of his works, a text that did away with printer’s errors and the vagaries of old spelling and punctuation, that explained the more obscure words and allusions in the plays, and that was furnished with critical guidance as to the nature of Shakespeare’s genius,” writes Jonathan Bate (referring to the notable Shakespeare editor Samuel Johnson) in this excerpt from the preface to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s newly published second edition of the complete works of Shakespeare.