Shakespeare's First Folio: 400th Anniversary Facsimile Edition: Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories & Tragedies, Published According to the Original Copies (Hardcover)
A full-size facsimile of one of the most complete early copies of the famed First Folio, selected and luxuriously produced by the British Library, is a must-have for actors, playwrights, and bibliophiles as well as anyone who truly loves the art of the English language.
Published in association with the British Library on the 400th anniversary of the first publication of the First Folio, this handsome facsimile edition is the clearest and cleanest expression of an original from the library’s collection. The slipcased edition includes an six-page booklet with an introduction by the British Library’s lead curator who explain the history and enduring significance of the First Folio.
First printed in 1623, the First Folio presents thirty-six of Shakespeare’s plays in one volume and is the only source for eighteen of his plays. Without it, works such as The Tempest, Twelfth Night and Macbeth would be lost. Also, the First Folio introduced the now familiar organization into comedies, histories, and tragedies. Of the 750 copies originally produced, only some 200 remain today.
Interestingly, no two copies are identical and few surviving First Folios are complete. One work, Troilus and Cressida, appears in some copies but not others. Printing stopped and started due to finances, so corrections were made throughout the print run. Small changes were also made to Martin Droeshout’s (now iconic) Shakespeare portrait on the title page.
About the Author
Adrian Edwards is Head of the Printed Heritage Collections at The British Library.
“The importance of the First Folio is impossible to exaggerate. Like Cleopatra, “age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” Without this landmark collection, 18 of Shakespeare’s plays might have been lost — including “All’s Well That Ends Well,” “As You Like It,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “Julius Caesar,” “Macbeth” and "The Tempest.” The British Library and Rizzoli recently produced a remarkable facsimile edition of a complete First Folio held at the British Library. I’ve been reading it this week and have felt both awed and challenged. Open to any page and you’ll immediately be grateful for the textual and critical work that’s been done over the centuries to produce the clean, well-footnoted editions we used in school. That you can own this endlessly fascinating facsimile of the most important book in the English language for $135 (or less) seems incredible to me.” — The Washington Post
"There are only 235 known copies of “Shakespeare’s First Folio” in the world, and the going rate for one is around $10 million. This 400th anniversary facsimile edition makes a handsome, and far more affordable, gift for the theater buff in your life." — New York Times
"Ultimately, for Bard loyalists, this facsimile is worth its weight in gold—or at least the $135 it costs to be able to crack open those storied covers yourself. “The [goal], which is also part of what the library stands for, is to make things more accessible to a broader readership,” Lee says. “This book is as close as you’re going to get to actually holding the real thing.” " ~Fast Company