Shakespeare Book: First Folio

1+ First Folio 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare Book Publication on 23 April 2023 United Nation, Global Books, Copyright and Shakespeare Day!
2+ A 400 Year Obsession with The First Folio + CNN 2020: Copy Of First Folio Sells For Record $10M
2016 Shakespeare 400 year anniversary
4+ Shakespeare First folio on Wikipedia
5+ William Shakespeare From Wikipedia
6+ Shakespeare: As you like it
7+ Free All eBooks of Shakespeare– Project Gutenberg is an online library of free all kinds of eBooks.
8+ No Fear Shakespeare The full free text of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets side-by-side with translations into modern English. is available free online and in the book at or online free
9+ The free Shakespeare App for Apple and Android The ultimate free resource includes apps the complete works of Shakespeare (41 plays, 154 sonnets and 6 poems plays, scene synopses, character descriptions, folios, quartos, news, reviews, discussion forum, and more.)
10+ Open Source Shakespeare is a free non-commercial web site allowing free access to searchable digital versions of the complete works 37 plays, 154 Sonnets, and more:
11+ Folger Shakespeare Library + Free Download Shakespeare’s Plays, Sonnets, and Poems Folger has the world’s largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare 
12+ Explore the British Library more than 1000th of the best Shakespeare related material or Finding Shakespeare at the Library of Congress the largest library in the world, with the finest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare 
13+ The Shakespeare authorship question is the argument that someone wrote the works attributed to him.
14+ The New Oxford Shakespeare presents an entirely new of all Shakespeare’s works

15+ Royal Shakespeare Company Performing Shakespeare’s plays, as well as works by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and plays by today’s writers. For as many people as possible to be able to access theatre at its best, to bring work to the widest possible audience through:
Touring and residencies – UK and worldwide Broadcasts to cinemas Live From Stratford-upon-Avon – UK and worldwide
Online activity Education work reaching out to 530,000 children and young people, including free Schools’ Broadcasts

16+ Shakespeare Birthplace Trust The house owned by the Shakespeares when William was born. The world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, promotes the enjoyment and understanding of his works, life and times all over the world
17+ Shakespeare Day in the United Kingdom April 23 each year. It is also St George’s Day and the United Nations’ World Book and Copyright Day, which was a natural choice to pay a worldwide tribute to writers such as Shakespeare.
18+ Shakespeare’s Globe Explore fascinating stories from A world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark, in London
19+ William Shakespeare biography A&E Video (Documentary)
20. Top 5 Shakespeare festivals in Canada + Read more In Canada, there are many places that celebrate the greatest playwright in the English language. 
1. STRATFORD FESTIVAL, Ontario, Stratford is the best place in Canada to celebrate the genius of Shakespeare. 
2. BARD ON THE BEACH, Shakespeare festival features a professional Vancouver-based acting troupe that takes on the Bard’s finest works each summer. 3. SHAKESPEARE ON THE SASKATCHEWAN, Saskatoon 4. SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK, Toronto, Ontario 5. SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA, Halifax, Nova Scotia

21+ Smart Shakespear As You Like It! Shakepear Smoothies with William Pear, Grape Juice, and more As You Like It, to Write to Make and Drink It!

William Shakespeare biography A&E Video (Documentary)


The First Folio:
A 400 Year Obsession
The Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shakespeare

Thanks for joining us in celebrating Shakespeare and his extraordinary legacy through special events, exhibitions, performances, and more—online, at the Folger, and across the United States! Look to the links above for the many ways that you can continue to experience and explore Shakespeare now.

The Wonder of Will LIVE and #MySHX400

Throughout the anniversary year, actors, teachers, and ordinary Shakespeare fans shared stories of personal experiences and connections to Shakespeare’s work on social media using #MySHX400. On April 23, 2016, thousands tuned in to C-SPAN2 Book TV to hear Shakespeare stories from actor Kal Penn, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and others.

The America’s Shakespeare exhibition traced Shakespeare’s extraordinary influence on America’s history and culture, while the First Folio national tour brought the book that gave us Shakespeare to each corner of the United States. Explore the many ways the Folger connected Americans with Shakespeare during the anniversary-year celebrations.

Over 400 Years of Shakespeare – Q&A | 5 September 2016


The Secrets of the Shakespeare First Folio | The Forum | Stratford Festival 2014


Shakespeare is everywhere | Christopher Gaze | TEDxVancouver


ALL IS TRUE Official Trailer (2019) Kenneth Branagh, Shakespeare Movie HD


William Shakespeare: The Life and Times Of (FULL DOCUMENTARY)

There’s no name better known in the world of Literature than William Shakespeare, and whatever your feelings about such dramatic offerings as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Twelfth Night”, “King Lear”, “Othello”, “Hamlet”, “Julius Caesar”, “Taming of the Shrew” or “Macbeth”, Shakespeare is impossible to ignore. Thousands of books have been written about Shakespeare and even though he lived over four hundred years ago, biographers and literary critics are still inspired to wax lyrical upon the subject in the 21st Century. What’s more there are as few facts as ever to go on, and by the very nature of history, it’s unlikely that any new and dramatic evidence regarding the life and times of William Shakespeare will be revealed. So what exactly is it that makes Shakespeare such a fascinating subject for speculation by each new generation to discover him? After all, the image we all recognize of Shakespeare is the perfect picture of Elizabethan respectability and far from being anything out of the ordinary. However, like all good stories, dig a little deeper and your efforts will be rewarded. Shakespeare’s meteoric rise from the humblest of beginnings to worldwide fame tells a tale of tenacity that is inspirational to this day and as we follow in the Great Bard of Avon’s footsteps, where there’s a will, when you’re talking about William Shakespeare, there’s most definitely a way.


Top 10 Best Shakespeare Movies
William Shakespeare

From Wikipedia,

William Shakespeare
The Chandos portrait (held by the National Portrait Gallery, London)
Baptised26 April 1564
Died23 April 1616 (aged 52)Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Resting placeChurch of the Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon
Years activec. 1585–1613
MovementEnglish Renaissance
Spouse(s)Anne Hathaway (m. 1582)
ChildrenSusanna HallHamnet ShakespeareJudith Quiney
ParentsJohn Shakespeare (father)Mary Arden (mother)

William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “the Bard”). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-AvonWarwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearancehis sexualityhis religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them HamletOthelloKing Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language.
 In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare’s, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare’s dramatic works that included all but two of his plays.[13] The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as “not of an age, but for all time”.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare’s works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain popular and are studied, performed, and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world.


First Folio

From Wikipedia

Title page of the first impression (1623).
AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
Cover artistMartin Droeshout
LanguageEarly Modern English
GenreEnglish Renaissance theatre
PublisherEdward Blount and William and Isaac Jaggard
Publication date1623
Pagesc. 900

Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is a collection of plays by William Shakespeare, published in 1623, commonly referred to by modern scholars as the First Folio.[a] It is considered one of the most influential books ever published in the English language.[1]

Printed in folio format and containing 36 plays (see list of Shakespeare’s plays), it was prepared by Shakespeare’s colleagues John Heminges and Henry Condell. It was dedicated to the “incomparable pair of brethren” William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke and his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery (later 4th Earl of Pembroke).

Although 18 of Shakespeare’s plays had been published in quarto before 1623, the First Folio is arguably the only reliable text for about 20 of the plays, and a valuable source text for many of those previously published. The Folio includes all of the plays generally accepted to be Shakespeare’s, with the exception of Pericles, Prince of TyreThe Two Noble Kinsmen; and the two lost playsCardenio and Love’s Labour’s Won.

Poets’ Corner, Kent’s 1740 Shakespeare Memorial at centreFurther information: Shakespeare’s lifefunerary monumentreputation, and plays in quarto

On 23 April 1616,[b] William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon, and was buried in the chancel of the Church of the Holy Trinity two days later. After a long career as an actor, dramatist, and sharer in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) from c. 1585–90[c] until c. 1610–13,[d] he was financially well off and among England’s most popular dramatists, both on the stage and in print.[11][e] But his reputation had not yet risen to the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.[12][13][14] A funerary monument in Holy Trinity was commissioned, probably by his oldest daughter, and installed, most likely sometime before 1617–18, but a monument in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey[f] was not realised until 1740. William Basse wrote an elegiac poem on him c. 1618–20, but no notices were taken of his death in diplomatic correspondence or newsletters on the continent, nor were any tributes published by European contemporaries. William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke—who at the time held the post of Lord Chamberlain, with authority over the King’s Men, and directly in charge of Shakespeare as a Groom of the Chamber—made no note of his passing.[15][g]

Shakespeare’s works—both poetic and dramatic—had a rich history in print before the publication of the First Folio: from the first publications of Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594), 78 individual printed editions of his works are known. c. 30% (23) of these editions are his poetry, and the remaining c. 70% (55) his plays. Counting by number of editions published before 1623, the best-selling works were Venus and Adonis (12 editions), The Rape of Lucrece (6 editions), and Henry IV, Part 1 (6 editions). Of the 23 editions of the poems, 16 were published in octavo; the rest, and almost all of the editions of the plays, were printed in quarto.[16] The quarto format was made by folding a large sheet of printing paper twice, forming 4 leaves with 8 pages. The average quarto measured 7 by 9 inches (18 by 23 cm) and was made up of c. 9 sheets, giving 72 total pages.[17] Octavos—made by folding a sheet of the same size three times, forming 8 leaves with 16 pages—were about half as large as a quarto.[16] Since the cost of paper represented c. 50–75% of a book’s total production costs,[17] octavos were generally cheaper to manufacture than quartos, and a common way to reduce publishing costs was to reduce the number of pages needed by compressing (using two columns or a smaller typeface) or abbreviating the text.
Editions of individual plays were typically published in quarto and could be bought for 6d (equivalent to £5 in 2019) without a binding. These editions were primarily intended to be cheap and convenient, and read until worn out or repurposed as wrapping paper (or worse), rather than high quality objects kept in a library.[17] Customers who wanted to keep a particular play would have to have it bound, and would typically bind several related or miscellany plays into one volume.[18] Octavos, though nominally cheaper to produce, were somewhat different. From c. 1595–96 (Venus and Adonis) and 1598 (The Rape of Lucrece), Shakespeare’s narrative poems were published in octavo.[19] In The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio, Tara L. Lyons argues that this was partly due to the publisher, John Harrison‘s, desire to capitalize on the poems’ association with Ovid: the Greek classics were sold in octavo, so printing Shakespeare’s poetry in the same format would strengthen the association.[20] The octavo generally carried greater prestige, so the format itself would help to elevate their standing.[19] Ultimately, however, the choice was a financial one: Venus and Adonis in octavo needed four sheets of paper, versus seven in quarto, and the octavo The Rape of Lucrece needed five sheets, versus 12 in quarto.[20] Whatever the motivation, the move seems to have had the intended effect: Francis Meres, the first known literary critic to comment on Shakespeare, in his Palladis Tamia (1598), puts it thus: “the sweete wittie soule of Ouid liues in mellifluous & hony-tongued Shakespeare, witnes his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugred Sonnets among his priuate friends”.

Publishing literary works in folio was not unprecedented. Starting with the publication of Sir Philip Sidney‘s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1593) and Astrophel and Stella (1598), both published by William Ponsonby, there was a significant number of folios published, and a significant number of them were published by the men who would later be involved in publishing the First Folio.[h] But quarto was the typical format for plays printed in the period: folio was a prestige format, typically used, according to Fredson Bowers, for books of “superior merit or some permanent value”.[23]


The contents of the First Folio were compiled by John Heminges and Henry Condell;[24] the members of the Stationers Company who published the book were the booksellers Edward Blount and the father/son team of William and Isaac Jaggard. William Jaggard has seemed an odd choice by the King’s Men because he had published the questionable collection The Passionate Pilgrim as Shakespeare’s, and in 1619 had printed new editions of 10 Shakespearean quartos to which he did not have clear rights, some with false dates and title pages (the False Folio affair). Indeed, his contemporary Thomas Heywood, whose poetry Jaggard had pirated and misattributed to Shakespeare, specifically reports that Shakespeare was “much offended with M. Jaggard (that altogether unknown to him) presumed to make so bold with his name.”[25]

Heminges and Condell emphasised that the Folio was replacing the earlier publications, which they characterised as “stol’n and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by frauds and stealths of injurious impostors”, asserting that Shakespeare’s true words “are now offer’d to your view cured, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers as he conceived them.”

The paper industry in England was then in its infancy and the quantity of quality rag paper for the book was imported from France.[26] It is thought that the typesetting and printing of the First Folio was such a large job that the King’s Men simply needed the capacities of the Jaggards’ shop. William Jaggard was old, infirm and blind by 1623, and died a month before the book went on sale; most of the work in the project must have been done by his son Isaac.

Comparison of the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy in the first three editions of Hamlet, showing the varying quality of the text in the Bad Quarto, the Good Quarto and the First Folio

The First Folio’s publishing syndicate also included two stationers who owned the rights to some of the individual plays that had been previously printed: William Aspley (Much Ado About Nothing and Henry IV, Part 2) and John Smethwick (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet). Smethwick had been a business partner of another Jaggard, William’s brother John.

The printing of the Folio was probably done between February 1622 and early November 1623. It is possible that the printer originally expected to have the book ready early, since it was listed in the Frankfurt Book Fair catalogue as a book to appear between April and October 1622, but the catalogue contained many books not yet printed by 1622, and the modern consensus is that the entry was simply intended as advance publicity.[27] The first impression had a publication date of 1623, and the earliest record of a retail purchase is an account book entry for 5 December 1623 of Edward Dering (who purchased two); the Bodleian Library, in Oxford, received its copy in early 1624 (which it subsequently sold for £24 as a superseded edition when the Third Folio became available in 1663/1664).[28]


The 36 plays of the First Folio occur in the order given below; plays that had never been published before 1623 are marked with an asterisk. Each play is followed by the type of source used, as determined by bibliographical research.[29]

The term foul papers refers to Shakespeare’s working drafts of a play. When completed, a transcript or fair copy of the foul papers would be prepared, by the author or by a scribe. Such a manuscript would have to be heavily annotated with accurate and detailed stage directions and all the other data needed for performance, and then could serve as a prompt book, to be used by the prompter to guide a performance of the play. Any of these manuscripts, in any combination, could be used as a source for a printed text. The label Qn denotes the nth quarto edition of a play.

Table of Contents from the First Folio

Memorial to John Heminges and Henry Condell, editors of the First Folio, at Bassishaw, LondonComedies


  • 15 King John * – uncertain: a prompt-book, or “foul papers.”
  • 16 Richard II – typeset from Q3 and Q5, corrected against a prompt-book.
  • 17 Henry IV, Part 1 – typeset from an edited copy of Q5.
  • 18 Henry IV, Part 2 – uncertain: some combination of manuscript and quarto text.
  • 19 Henry V – typeset from Shakespeare’s “foul papers.”
  • 20 Henry VI, Part 1 * – likely from an annotated transcript of the author’s manuscript.
  • 21 Henry VI, Part 2 – probably a Shakespearean manuscript used as a prompt-book.
  • 22 Henry VI, Part 3 – like 2H6, probably a Shakespearean prompt-book.
  • 23 Richard III – a difficult case: probably typeset partially from Q3, and partially from Q6 corrected against a manuscript (maybe “foul papers”).
  • 24 Henry VIII * – typeset from a fair copy of the authors’ manuscript.


  • 25 Troilus and Cressida – probably typeset from the quarto, corrected with Shakespeare’s “foul papers,” printed after the rest of the Folio was completed.
  • 26 Coriolanus * – set from a high-quality authorial transcript.
  • 27 Titus Andronicus – typeset from a copy of Q3 that might have served as a prompt-book.
  • 28 Romeo and Juliet – in essence a reprint of Q3.
  • 29 Timon of Athens * – set from Shakespeare’s foul papers or a transcript of them.
  • 30 Julius Caesar * – set from a prompt-book, or a transcript of a prompt-book.
  • 31 Macbeth * – probably set from a prompt-book, perhaps detailing an adaptation of the play for a short indoor performance
  • 32 Hamlet – one of the most difficult problems in the First Folio: probably typeset from some combination of Q2 and manuscript sources.
  • 33 King Lear – a difficult problem: probably set mainly from Q1 but with reference to Q2, and corrected against a prompt-book.
  • 34 Othello – another difficult problem: probably typeset from Q1, corrected with a quality manuscript.
  • 35 Antony and Cleopatra * – possibly “foul papers” or a transcript of them.
  • 36 Cymbeline * – possibly another Ralph Crane transcript, or else the official prompt-book.

Troilus and Cressida was originally intended to follow Romeo and Juliet, but the typesetting was stopped, probably due to a conflict over the rights to the play; it was later inserted as the first of the tragedies, when the rights question was resolved. It does not appear in the table of contents.[30]

Introductory Poem

Ben Jonson wrote a preface to the folio with this poem facing the Droeshout portrait:

This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut:
Wherein the Grauer had a strife
with Nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but haue dravvne his vvit
As vvell in brasse, as he hath hit
His face; the Print vvould then surpasse
All, that vvas euer vvrit in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his picture, but his Booke.



As far as modern scholarship has been able to determine,[31] the First Folio texts were set into type by five compositors, with different spelling habits, peculiarities, and levels of competence. Researchers have labelled them A through E, A being the most accurate, and E an apprentice who had significant difficulties in dealing with manuscript copy. Their shares in typesetting the pages of the Folio break down like this:

 ComediesHistoriesTragediesTotal pages
“D”​35 1200​35 12
“E”00​71 12​71 12

Compositor “E” was most likely one John Leason, whose apprenticeship contract dated only from 4 November 1622. One of the other four might have been a John Shakespeare, of Warwickshire, who apprenticed with Jaggard in 1610–17. (“Shakespeare” was a common name in Warwickshire in that era; John was no known relation to the playwright.)

The First Folio and variants

The First Folio (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

W. W. Greg has argued that Edward Knight, the “book-keeper” or “book-holder” (prompter) of the King’s Men, did the actual proofreading of the manuscript sources for the First Folio. Knight is known to have been responsible for maintaining and annotating the company’s scripts, and making sure that the company complied with cuts and changes ordered by the Master of the Revels.

Some pages of the First Folio – 134 out of the total of 900 – were proofread and corrected while the job of printing the book was ongoing. As a result, the Folio differs from modern books in that individual copies vary considerably in their typographical errors. There were about 500 corrections made to the Folio in this way.[32] These corrections by the typesetters, however, consisted only of simple typos, clear mistakes in their own work; the evidence suggests that they almost never referred back to their manuscript sources, let alone tried to resolve any problems in those sources. The well-known cruxes in the First Folio texts were beyond the typesetters’ capacity to correct.

The Folio was typeset and bound in “sixes” – 3 sheets of paper, taken together, were folded into a booklet-like quire or gathering of 6 leaves, 12 pages. Once printed, the “sixes” were assembled and bound together to make the book. The sheets were printed in 2-page formes, meaning that pages 1 and 12 of the first quire were printed simultaneously on one side of one sheet of paper (which became the “outer” side); then pages 2 and 11 were printed on the other side of the same sheet (the “inner” side). The same was done with pages 3 and 10, and 4 and 9, on the second sheet, and pages 5 and 8, and 6 and 7, on the third. Then the first quire could be assembled with its pages in the correct order. The next quire was printed by the same method: pages 13 and 24 on one side of one sheet, etc. This meant that the text being printed had to be “cast off” – the compositors had to plan beforehand how much text would fit onto each page. If the compositors were setting type from manuscripts (perhaps messy, revised and corrected manuscripts), their calculations would frequently be off by greater or lesser amounts, resulting in the need to expand or compress. A line of verse could be printed as two; or verse could be printed as prose to save space, or lines and passages could even be omitted (a disturbing prospect for those who prize Shakespeare’s works).[33]

Holdings, sales and valuations

Jean-Christophe Mayer, in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio (2016), estimates the original retail price of the First Folio to be about 15s (equivalent to £139 in 2019) for an unbound copy, and up to £1 (equivalent to £185 in 2019) for one bound in calfskin.[i] In terms of purchasing power, “a bound folio would be about forty times the price of a single play and represented almost two months’ wages for an ordinary skilled worker.”[34]

Title page of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar from the Bodleian Library’s first folio

It is believed that around 750 copies of the First Folio were printed, of which there are 235 known surviving copies.[35][36][37] The British Library holds 5 copies. The National Library of Scotland holds a single copy, donated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1949.[38] An incomplete copy is on display at the Craven Museum & Gallery in SkiptonNorth Yorkshire and is accompanied by an audio narrative by Patrick Stewart.[39] The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. holds the world’s largest collection with 82 copies. Another collection (12 copies) is held at Meisei University in Tokyo, including the Meisei Copy (coded MR 774), said to be unique because of annotations by its reader.[40] While most copies are held in university libraries or museums such as the copy held by the Brandeis University library since 1961,[41] a few are held by public libraries. In the United States, the New York Public Library has six copies[42] with the Boston Public Library,[43] Free Library of Philadelphia,[44] The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign),[45] the Lilly Library (Indiana University-Bloomington),[46] and the Dallas Public Library[47] each holding one copy. The Huntington Library in Los Angeles County has four copies.[48] In Canada, there is only one known copy, located in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto.[49] The former Rosenbach copy, in its original binding, is now held at the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Switzerland.[50] The State Library of New South Wales holds copies of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Folios.[51] The only known copy in India is at IIT Roorkee.[52][53]

The First Folio is one of the most valuable printed books in the world: a copy sold at Christie’s in New York in October 2001 made $6.16 million hammer price (then £3.73m).[54]

Oriel College, Oxford, raised a conjectured £3.5 million from the sale of its First Folio to Sir Paul Getty in 2003.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the Folger Shakespeare Library toured some of its 82 First Folios for display in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.[55]

Discoveries of previously unknown Folios

On 13 July 2006, a complete copy of the First Folio owned by Dr Williams’s Library was auctioned at Sotheby’s auction house. The book, which was in its original 17th-century binding, sold for £2,808,000, less than Sotheby’s top estimate of £3.5 million. This copy is one of only about 40 remaining complete copies (most of the existing copies are incomplete); only one other copy of the book remains in private ownership.[56]

On 11 July 2008, it was reported that a copy stolen from Durham University, England, in 1998 had been recovered after being submitted for valuation at the Folger Shakespeare Library. News reports estimated the folio’s value at anywhere from £250,000 in total for the First Folio and all the other books and manuscripts stolen (BBC News, 1998), up to $30 million (The New York Times, 2008).[57] Although the book, once the property of John Cosin the Bishop of Durham, was returned to the library, it had been mutilated and was missing its cover and title page.[58] The folio was returned to public display on 19 June 2010 after its twelve-year absence.[59] Fifty-three-year-old Raymond Scott received an eight-year prison sentence for handling stolen goods, but was acquitted of the theft itself.[60] A July 2010 BBC programme about the affair, Stealing Shakespeare, portrayed Scott as a fantasist and petty thief.[61] In 2013, Scott killed himself in his prison cell.[62]

In November 2014, a previously unknown First Folio was found in a public library in Saint-OmerPas-de-Calais in France, where it had lain for 200 years. Confirmation of its authenticity came from Eric Rasmussen, of the University of Nevada, Reno, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Shakespeare. The title page and introductory material are missing. The name “Neville”, written on the first surviving page, may indicate that it once belonged to Edward Scarisbrick, who fled England due to anti-Catholic repression, attended the Jesuit Saint-Omer College, and was known to use that alias. The only other known copy of a First Folio in France is in the National Library in Paris.

In March 2016, Christie’s announced that a previously unrecorded copy once owned by 19th-century collector Sir George Augustus Shuckburgh-Evelyn would be auctioned on 25 May 2016.

In April 2016 another new discovery was announced, a First Folio having been found in Mount Stuart House on the Isle of ButeScotland. It was authenticated by Professor Emma Smith of Oxford University. The Folio originally belonged to Isaac Reed.

For more info please visit Wikipedia


The First Folio:
A 400 Year Obsession

The Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shakespeare

Thanks for joining us in celebrating Shakespeare and his extraordinary legacy through special events, exhibitions, performances, and more—online, at the Folger, and across the United States! Look to the links above for the many ways that you can continue to experience and explore Shakespeare now.

The Wonder of Will LIVE and #MySHX400

Throughout the anniversary year, actors, teachers, and ordinary Shakespeare fans shared stories of personal experiences and connections to Shakespeare’s work on social media using #MySHX400. On April 23, 2016, thousands tuned in to C-SPAN2 Book TV to hear Shakespeare stories from actor Kal Penn, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and others.

The America’s Shakespeare exhibition traced Shakespeare’s extraordinary influence on America’s history and culture, while the First Folio national tour brought the book that gave us Shakespeare to each corner of the United States. Explore the many ways the Folger connected Americans with Shakespeare during the anniversary-year celebrations.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, the largest collection of Shakespearean materials in the world. Learn more about  education programs, performing arts, and community outreach.
Who We Are Part 1 – Folger Shakespeare Library
Who We Are Part 2 – Folger Shakespeare Library


Shakespeare’s First Folio

The British Library
Shakespeare's First Folio - title page and introduction by Ben Johnson

The First Folio is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare‘s plays, collated and published in 1623, seven years after his death. Folio editions were large and expensive books that were seen as prestige items.

Shakespeare wrote around 37 plays, 36 of which are contained in the First Folio. Most of these plays were performed in the Globe, an open-air playhouse in London built on the south bank of the Thames in 1599. As none of Shakespeare’s original manuscripts survive (except, possibly, Sir Thomas More, which Shakespeare is believed to have revised a part of) we only know his work from printed editions.

Why is the First Folio so important?

Of the 36 plays in the First Folio, 17 were printed in Shakespeare’s lifetime in various good and bad smaller quarto editions, one was printed after his death and 18 had not yet been printed at all. It is this fact that makes the First Folio so important; without it, 18 of Shakespeare’s plays, including Twelfth NightMeasure for Measure, MacbethJulius Caesar and The Tempest, might never have survived.

The text was collated by two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors and friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, who edited it and supervised the printing. They appear in a list of the ‘Principall Actors’ who performed in Shakespeare’s plays, alongside Richard BurbageWill Kemp and Shakespeare himself.

Heminge and Condell divided the plays into comediestragedies and histories, an editorial decision that has come to shape our idea of the Shakespearean canon. In order to produce as authoritative a text as possible, they compiled it from the good quartos and from manuscripts (now lost) such as prompt books, authorial fair copy, and foul papers (working drafts). The First Folio offered a corrective to what are now called bad quartos – spurious and corrupt pirate editions, likely based on memorial reconstruction.

What did Shakespeare look like?

The portrait of Shakespeare on the title page was engraved by Martin Droeshout and is one of only two portraits with any claim to authenticity. As Droeshout would have only been 15 when Shakespeare died it is unlikely that they actually met. Instead his picture was probably drawn from the memory of others, or from an earlier portrait. In his admiring verse ‘To the Reader’ at the start of the First Folio, the writer Ben Jonson declares that the engraver achieved a good likeness – he ‘hit’ or captured Shakespeare’s face well.

The ‘wonder of our stage’

Jonson also wrote a poem ‘To the memory’ of Shakespeare, which presents him as the ‘Soul of the Age’, ‘the wonder of our stage’. Jonson generously compares Shakespeare to other playwrights including Christopher Marlowe, who was well-known for the ‘mighty line’ in his powerful blank verse plays. At the same time, Jonson makes the famous claim that Shakespeare had ‘small Latine, and lesse Greeke ’, suggesting that he was not a good classical scholar.

What’s special about this copy?

This copy is one of only four surviving which contain the engraving in the first state, before Droeshout made improvements to the engraved plate to enhance the appearance of Shakespeare’s forehead and chin, and to add shading. In this version, Shakespeare’s head appears to be floating above his ruff. Because the portrait in this copy is the early version, we know that it was one of the first copies to be printed.

It is estimated that around 750 First Folios were printed, of which 233 are currently known to survive worldwide. The British Library owns five.


First Folio Tour

How do we know Shakespeare’s plays? For many of them, the answer is one book: the 1623 First Folio. Without it, 18 plays, including Macbeth and The Tempest, could have been lost. In 2016, First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare brought the First Folio to 50 states, Washington, and Puerto Rico.


The Wonder of Will LIVE and #MySHX400

Throughout the anniversary year, actors, teachers, and ordinary Shakespeare fans shared stories of personal experiences and connections to Shakespeare’s work on social media using #MySHX400. On April 23, 2016, thousands tuned in to C-SPAN2 Book TV to hear Shakespeare stories from actor Kal Penn, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and others.

Book TV's Peter Slen at The Wonder of Will LIVE on April 23, 2016. Photo by Lloyd Wolf.
First Folio tour in Notre Dame, IN


A Flourishing Cultural Legacy

The America’s Shakespeare exhibition traced Shakespeare’s extraordinary influence on America’s history and culture, while the First Folio national tour brought the book that gave us Shakespeare to each corner of the United States. Explore the many ways the Folger connected Americans with Shakespeare during the anniversary-year celebrations.

America's Shakespeare exhibition at the 2016 Shakespeare's Birthday Open House. Photo by Lloyd Wolf.
C-SPAN2 at The Wonder of Will LIVE on April 23, 2016. Photo by Lloyd Wolf.


Extending the Folger Network

As we marked the anniversary year, the Folger was pleased to form a wealth of new partnerships across the United States, internationally, and in our own city of Washington, DC. Our first partners, of course, were the supporters of The Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shakespeare, which made possible many additional partnerships now and in the years ahead.

CrossTalk DC, 2016. Photo by Tracy Russo.
The Book of Coates & Creasts. Promptuarium armorum. Begonne the 28 of May 1602. P[er] W[illia]m Smith Rougdragon. Begun May 28, 1602. Repository: The British Library, London, UK


In the Archives and in the Theater

Folger Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe made a major discovery about Shakespeare’s coat of arms during her preparations for anniversary-year exhibitions. And together, the Folger Institute, Folger Theatre, and Folger Consort explored Restoration Shakespeare and made a creative “discovery” that resulted in the new work Measure + Dido.

Derek Jacobi in Measure + Dido
Maren Bush (Portia) and Celeste Jones (Nessa) in Folger Theatre's District Merchants. Photo by Teresa Wood.


Inspiring Artists and Commissioning World Premieres

The Folger commissioned several major new works of art, ranging from the theatrical (Aaron Posner’s District Merchants) to the musical (Caroline Shaw’s The Isle) to the visual (Carrie Roy’s textile map of the First Folios’ travel paths). Inspired by the creative spark of Shakespeare’s work, these projects were an ideal way to mark his legacy.


What Is A Shakespeare First Folio?
The First Folio of William Shakespeare

The First Folio of William Shakespeare

After William Shakespeare died in 1616, two of his friends decided to publish his works. Their names were John Heminge and Henry Condell, and they were part of the King’s Men with Shakespeare. They collected his plays and brought them to publishers Edward Blount and Isaac Jaggard, who then began to make the First Folio. The book was completed in 1623.

What we call the “First Folio” is actually titled “Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies.” The term folio refers to the large size of paper, which was usually saved for more important documents like theology, history, and royal proclamations. Half the plays in the First Folio had already been printed as smaller books called quartos. There were different versions of some of the plays. Shakespeare’s friends organized the printing of the First Folio and said they were using the original copies of the plays, but scholars have no way of knowing what exactly Shakespeare wrote. By the time Shakespeare died, he had written at least 38 plays and more than 150 poems!

The image from the title page of the First Folio is called the “Droeshout portrait” because it was made by Martin Droeshout. Shakespeare’s friends approved it, so it must have looked like him. It is one of only two images that we know to be accurate, and the other is the bust of Shakespeare at his grave.

Researchers believe that 750 or fewer copies of the First Folio were printed; 233 survive today, of which 82 are in the Folger collectio

Search Folger Library for
First Folio


Shakespeare’s plays

From Wikipedia

Sir John Gilbert’s 1849 painting: The Plays of Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare‘s plays.

Shakespeare’s plays have the reputation of being among the greatest in the English language and in Western literature. Traditionally, the plays are divided into the genres of tragedyhistory, and comedy; they have been translated into every major living language, in addition to being continually performed all around the world.

Many of his plays appeared in print as a series of quartos, but approximately half of them remained unpublished until 1623, when the posthumous First Folio was published. The traditional division of his plays into tragedies, comedies, and histories follows the categories used in the First Folio. However, modern criticism has labeled some of these plays “problem plays” that elude easy categorisation, or perhaps purposely break generic conventions, and has introduced the term romances for what scholars believe to be his later comedies.

When Shakespeare first arrived in London in the late 1570s or early 1580s, dramatists writing for London’s new commercial playhouses (such as The Curtain) were combining two strands of dramatic tradition into a new and distinctively Elizabethan synthesis. Previously, the most common forms of popular English theatre were the Tudor morality plays. These plays, celebrating piety generally, use personified moral attributes to urge or instruct the protagonist to choose the virtuous life over Evil. The characters and plot situations are largely symbolic rather than realistic. As a child, Shakespeare would likely have seen this type of play (along with, perhaps, mystery plays and miracle plays).[1]

The other strand of dramatic tradition was classical aesthetic theory. This theory was derived ultimately from Aristotle; in Renaissance England, however, the theory was better known through its Roman interpreters and practitioners. At the universities, plays were staged in a more academic form as Roman closet dramas. These plays, usually performed in Latin, adhered to classical ideas of unity and decorum, but they were also more static, valuing lengthy speeches over physical action. Shakespeare would have learned this theory at grammar school, where Plautus and especially Terence were key parts of the curriculum[2] and were taught in editions with lengthy theoretical introductions

List of Shakespearean characters (A–K)


Time Team Special 48 (2012) – Searching for Shakespeare’s House (Stratford-upon-Avon)


ALL IS TRUE Official Trailer (2019)
Kenneth Branagh, Shakespeare Movie HD


by William Shakespeare – FULL AudioBook | V2


The New Oxford Shakespeare: Complete Set: Modern Critical Edition, Critical Reference Edition, Authorship Companion

The New Oxford Shakespeare: Complete Set: Modern Critical Edition, Critical Reference Edition, Authorship Companion

by William Shakespeare, Gary Taylor, et al. | Jun 20, 2017


The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition: The Complete Works
The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition: The Complete Works

by William Shakespeare , Gary Taylor, et al. | Jan 15, 2018 Paperback$49.95


Shakespeare in America (Oxford Shakespeare Topics)

Shakespeare in America (Oxford Shakespeare Topics)

by Alden T. Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan | May 4, 2012 Paperback$30.95


Shakespeare’s Sonnets by William Shakespeare – Exclusive Collector’s Edition from the Folio Society $59.95 Published here as they first appeared with the narrative poem ‘A Lover’s Complaint’, Shakespeare’s sonnets show his …


The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, 2nd Edition Hardcover

Hardcover $25.00 Kindle from $0.99

Hailed by The Washington Post as “a definitive synthesis of the best editions” and by The Times of London as “a monument to Shakespearean scholarship,” The Oxford Shakespeare is the ultimate anthology of the Bard’s work: the most authoritative edition of the plays and poems ever published.


No Fear Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s works translated into today’s English, go deep with our study guides, or delve into the Bard’s life and times. Explore the historical and social context of William Shakespeare’s plays, learn about his biography, or browse his most famous quotes.

No Fear Shakespeare
More then 20 of Shakespeare work Read all for free or buy each around $10 at Amazon


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare Hardback $51 by Google

I would challenge you to a battle of wits but I see you are unarmed. William Shakespeare Arm yourself with this volume from the Knickerbocker Classics series The Complete Works of William Shakespeare including 16 comedies 10 histories 12 tragedies and all the poems and sonnets of the worlds most influential writer. This collection includes poems and plays that were not included in Shakespeares First Folio of 1623 to make one complete authentic collection. For Shakespeare and poetry


Shakespeare’s First Folio by Emma Smith Hardback $30.88 by Google

This is a biography of a book the first collected edition of Shakespeares plays printed in 1623 and known as the First Folio. It begins with the story of its first purchaser in London in December 1623 and goes on to explore the ways people have interacted with this iconic book over the four hundred years of its history. Throughout the stress is on what we can learn from individual copies now spread around the world about their eventful lives. From ink blots to pet paws from annotations to wiLess


The Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World by Google Books $19.99
Front Cover

Paul Collins Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jul. 7, 2009 – Literary Criticism – 246 pages

The first popular narrative history of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the world’s most obsessively pursued book.

One book above all others has transfixed connoisseurs for four centuries a book sold for shillings in the streets of London, whisked to Manhattan for millions, and stored deep within the vaults of Tokyo. The book: William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. Paul Collins, lover of odd books and author of the national bestseller Sixpence House, takes up the strange quest for this white whale of precious books.

Broken down into five acts, each tied to a different location and century, The Book of William‘s travelogue follows the trail of the Folio’s curious rise: a dizzying S otheby’s auction on a pristine copy preserved since the seventeenth century, the Fleet Street machinations of the eighteenth century, the nineteenth century quests for lost Folios, obsessive acquisitions by twentieth century oilmen, and the high-tech hoards of twenty-first century Japan. Finally, Collins speculates on Shakespeare’s cross-cultural future as Asian buyers enter their Folios into the electronic ether, and recounts the book’s remarkable journey as it is found in attics, gets lost in oceans and fires, is bought and sold, and ultimately becomes immortal.

About the author (2009)

Paul Collins is an assistant professor of English at Portland State University and the author of Sixpence HouseThe Trouble with TomNot Even Wrong, and Banvard’s Folly. His work has appeared in Smithsonian, the New York Times, and Slate. He edits the Collins Library imprint of McSweeney’s Books and appears regularly on NPR’s Weekend Edition as the show’s resident literary detective.

Bibliographic information

QR code for The Book of William
TitleThe Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World
AuthorPaul Collins
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing USA, 2009
ISBN1596911956, 9781596911956
Length246 pages
SubjectsLiterary Criticism › Shakespeare

Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Literary Criticism / Books & Reading
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare


Shakespeare’s Original First Folio Sells For Almost $10 Million

October 14, 2020 Read all:

A complete and original copy of Shakespeare’s very first printed collection of plays set a record Wednesday when it was auctioned off at just under $10 million. This was the first time in almost two decades a copy had hit the market.


Rare copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio sells for record $10M

Updated 14th October 2020 Written by Oscar Holland, CNN Read more :

A rare copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio sold for almost $10 million Wednesday, becoming the most expensive work of literature ever to appear at auction, according to Christie’s.

The version sold on Wednesday was the first complete copy to appear at auction since one went for $6.1 million in 2001. It was put up for sale by Mills College in Oakland, California, which had kept the item in its collection since 1977.

“(The First Folio) is the greatest work in the English language, certainly the greatest work of theater, so it’s something that anyone who loves intellectualism has to consider a divine object,” said Loewentheil, who owns stores specializing in rare books and photography in New York and Maryland.

A copy of the book on display, prior to Wednesday's auction, at Christie's in London.
A copy of the book on display, prior to Wednesday’s auction, at Christie’s in London. Credit: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
‘Extraordinarily’ rare

Although around 750 copies of the First Folio were produced, just 235 are known to have survived to the present day. Of these, only 56 are considered to be complete, with almost all of them now held by institutions in the US and UK, according to Christie’s, whose sale catalog said the item’s “extraordinary rarity … cannot be overstated.”Believing that the copies in private hands might “never to come to market again,” Loewentheil said that there may not be “too many more chances left” to obtain a copy.
Read more:


Shakespeare home in London, where he wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ found by historian
Written by Bianca Britton, CNN London Read more at: CNN

The location of William Shakespeare’s London home where the playwright wrote “Romeo and Juliet” has been identified for the first time, according to new research.Theater historian Geoffrey Marsh spent a decade meticulously researching the home of the English dramatist and poet by cross-referencing official records to pinpoint where exactly Shakespeare lived during the 1590s.

Historian Geoffrey Marsh analyzed archives that dated back to the 1550s.

Historian Geoffrey Marsh analyzed archives that dated back to the 1550s. Credit: Paul Harries

“The place where Shakespeare lived in London gives us a more profound understanding of the inspirations for his work and life,” said Marsh, who is also the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Department of Theatre and Performance.”Within a few years of migrating to London from Stratford, he was living in one of the wealthiest parishes in the City, alongside powerful public figures, wealthy international merchants, society doctors and expert musicians.”

Read more at: CNN


The ‘Shakespeare Documents’, a documentary trail of the life of William Shakespeare

Documentary heritage submitted by United Kingdom and United States of America and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2017.

The ‘Shakespeare Documents’ are the key archival sources for understanding William Shakespeare’s life.  These unique handwritten documents, dating from within Shakespeare’s lifetime, name him and provide an evidential basis for understanding the narrative of his life and how this inspired and influenced his creative works.They provide glimpses into Shakespeare’s personal life, his birth, death, family affairs, property and business dealings, as well as his context within a period of history that saw major changes in cultural, religious and socio-political society.

The United Nations agency UNESCO has recently added 90 manuscripts related to William Shakespeare’s life to its International Memory of the World register. Stored at multiple rare book libraries and archives, the documents touch on Shakespeare’s baptism, burial, family matters, property records, legal actions, and business dealings.

Read more:


Shakespeare Day 23 April


World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the scope of books – a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. On this occasion, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day’s celebrations. 

23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.

By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge, with the work across the board – from the Creative Cities of Literature network to promoting literacy and mobile learning and advancing Open Access to scientific knowledge and educational resources. With the active involvement of all stakeholders: authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media, and all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors, World Book and Copyright Day has become a platform to rally together millions of people all around the world. Read more: WHAT IS WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY?



[ Some of the best free motivational, promotional, informational, educational documentary, and sample books, ebooks, video, audio, music, pictures, links, about Smart eBooks Reading From top to bottom of the page to read or watch, listen, learn, use and to enjoy with satisfaction ]
Promotional Guide charges companies some promotional fees.
For the buyers of any items, prices are the same as they buy directly from Amazon or other companies.


Disclaimer of liability
The information, books, ebooks, products, services, material plus any other content in this site and related sites or other [ Pak Company and Promotional guide network and links ] or any third party all are for general information, entertainments and promotion purposes only.
However, we [ Pak company, Promotional Guide, Smart ebooks or anyone any way related ] makes no responsibility or warranty of any kind regarding accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of information, products, and services plus other items.
You should consult medical professionals, an expert in the field of interest for more direct, reliable advice and action, all strictly on your own risk.