Shakespeare's First Folio: 400th Anniversary Facsimile Edition
Author: William Shakespeare, British Library of London
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.