Saturday, October 29, 2016

Shakespeare's First Folio!

This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to see
First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare.

Marking the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare's death,
this is a nationwide, touring exhibition
that will visit all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico in 2016.

After Shakespeare's death in 1616, 
two of his friends and partners in the King's Men - John Heminge and Henry Condell -
assembled 36 of his 38 plays, creating the First Folio.

Currently on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library,
this 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare, probably had a print run of 750 copies, 
of which, fewer than a third - only 233 copies - are known to be in existence today.

Of the 36 plays included in the First Folio, 18 had never been printed before.
Without it, these works could very well have been lost to history.

Below is the First Folio, open to one of Shakespeare's most famous passages,
the "to be or not to be" speech from Hamlet.

Although not on display in this exhibit, 
the image below is from the title page of the First Folio.
It is one of only two images of William Shakespeare approved by those who knew him.
(The other one is a memorial bust in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.)

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
-- As You Like It (2.7.146-149) 

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