The Making of Shakespeare's First Folio (Hardcover)
A revised and updated edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio that explains the significance of the iconic publication.
The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio offers the first comprehensive biography of the earliest collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. In November 1623, the book arrived in the bookshop of the London publisher Edward Blount at the Black Bear. Long in the making, Master William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies—as the First Folio was then known—appeared seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Nearly one thousand pages in length, the collection comprised thirty-six plays, half of which had never been previously published. Yet no fanfare surrounded the initial publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio—no queue of eager readers, no launch to the top of the best-seller list.
Nevertheless, it is hard to overstate the importance of this literary, cultural, and commercial moment. Emma Smith tells the story of the First Folio’s origins, locating it within the social and political context of Jacobean London and bringing in the latest scholarship on the seventeenth-century book trade. Generously illustrated in color with key pages from the publication and comparative works, this new edition combines the 2016 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.
About the Author
Emma Smith is professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, University of Oxford. She is the author of the bestselling This is Shakespeare. Her most recent book is Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers.
"The detailed discussion of the folioʼs publication offers enlightening glimpses into the history of the book trade, and the reproduction of full pages from such plays as The Tempest and The Merry Wives of Windsor will please fans who are unwilling to shell out three million pounds for the actual article. Shakespeare buffs will want to check this out."
— Publisher's Weekly