The making of Shakespeare’s First Folio


Shakespeare is synonymous with English literature. Well-loved the world over, his work endures for its ability to speak powerfully to the follies and foibles of human nature. We endlessly debate not only the finer points of each of his plays and sonnets but also the identity of the Bard himself. Yet no fanfare surrounded the initial publication of Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio’ – no queue of eager readers, no launch to the top of the bestseller list. It wasn’t until 400 years after Shakespeare’s death that the book would be the subject of a national book tour. ‘The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio’ offers a comprehensive biography of the earliest collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays.

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In late November 1623, Edward Blount finally took delivery to his bookshop at the sign of the Black Bear near St Paul’s a book that had been long in the making. Master William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies was the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, appearing some seven years after their author’s death in 1616. There was no fanfare at the book’s arrival. There was nothing of the marketing that marks an important new publication in our own period: no advertising campaign, no reviews, interviews, endorsements or literary prizes. Nevertheless, it is hard to overstate the importance of this literary, cultural and commercial moment.Generously illustrated in colour with key pages from the publication and comparative works, this new edition combines the recent discovery of a hitherto unknown edition of the First Folio at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute with the human, artistic, economic and technical stories of the birth of this landmark publication – and the birth of Shakespeare’s towering reputation.

Additional information

Weight 0.892 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 3.1 cm