On tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, this is an original edition of one of the world’s most famous and treasured books, William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, better known as the First Folio.
The First Folio, published in 1623, was the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, roughly 900-pages long, each page about a foot tall.
The display of the rare book will be accompanied by a multi-panel exhibition and interactive activities exploring Shakespeare’s enduring impact. The pages will be open to one of the most quoted lines in the English language, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “to be or not to be.”
The Making of Shakespeare's First Folio offers the first comprehensive biography of the earliest collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. In November 1623, the book arrived in the bookshop of the London publisher Edward Blount at the Black Bear. Long in the \making, Master William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies—as the First Folio\was then known—appeared seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Nearly one thousand pages in length, the collection comprised thirty-six plays, half of which had never been previously published. Emma Smith tells the story of the First Folio’s origins, locating it within the social and political context of Jacobean London and bringing in the latest scholarship on the 17th-century book trade.