Cover image for The Four Shakespeare Folios, 1623–2023: Copy, Print, Paper, Type Edited by Samuel V. Lemley

The Four Shakespeare Folios, 1623–2023

Copy, Print, Paper, Type

Edited by Samuel V. Lemley

Pre-Order, Releases May 27

$64.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09732-9

Available as an e-book

184 pages
7" × 10"
65 b&w illustrations
2024
Co-published with Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

Penn State Series in the History of the Book

The Four Shakespeare Folios, 1623–2023

Copy, Print, Paper, Type

Edited by Samuel V. Lemley

Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, more widely known as the First Folio, contains thirty-six of the thirty-eight plays attributed in whole or in part to Shakespeare. Published in 1623, it has been the object of continued scholarly focus, while three subsequent folio printings—occurring in 1632, 1663/64, and 1685—are often considered mere derivatives of the First. This volume endeavors to correct and give nuance to this view.

 

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Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, more widely known as the First Folio, contains thirty-six of the thirty-eight plays attributed in whole or in part to Shakespeare. Published in 1623, it has been the object of continued scholarly focus, while three subsequent folio printings—occurring in 1632, 1663/64, and 1685—are often considered mere derivatives of the First. This volume endeavors to correct and give nuance to this view.

Considering the evolution of Shakespeare in print through these successive Folios, this book seeks a new direction for Shakespeare bibliography—one that trends toward more discursive, contingent, and embodied evidence and away from questions of textual priority. Written by leading scholars of Shakespeare in print, the chapters present an overview of current research and relate new work on unsettled questions about the bibliography of Shakespeare’s plays. This book challenges the view that the survival of Shakespeare’s plays was due primarily to the survival of the First Folio. Rather, the four Folios each contributed to the gradual elevation of Shakespeare in the English literary canon.

The contributors to this volume include Erin C. Blake, Claire M. L. Bourne, Zachary Lesser, Tara L. Lyons, and Andrew Murphy, with a concluding chapter by Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, Laura S. DeLuca, Elizabeth Dieterich, Kartik Goyal, Max G’Sell, Samuel V. Lemley, D. J. Schuldt, Kari Thomas, Nikolai Vogler, and Christopher N. Warren, and a foreword by Keith Webster.

Samuel V. Lemley is Curator of Special Collections at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.