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Shakespeare's First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book
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Shakespeare's First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  30 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This is a biography of a book: the first collected edition of Shakespeare's 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 ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 15th 2016 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shakespeare
Emma Smith examines the reception of the first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays (36 in total) as a physical object as well as literary text. Her book is a history of the first Folio as a thing-in-itself, the book as a cultural object, an artifact of its time and place of production and also something of significant value even though it is not a particularly rare book.

She illuminates the “contexts” out of which it was created, explaining the theatrical practices that influenced th
Emma Townshend
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant, enjoyable though certainly academic account of the First Folio: the first publication of all Shakespeare's plays in a single huge book, in 1623. Shakespeare's singularity as an author is explored through the singularity of the First Folio, with Smith explaining how it came to occupy such a central and recognisable position within book-collecting, and within our culture as a whole (she's very good in how the First Folio is often evoked during moments of technological innovati ...more
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Surpassed all my expectations.

This book took me a long time to read. It's very scholarly (which is not intended to be a criticism in any respect). It was hugely enjoyable to read a book on a subject I find absolutely fascinating, supported so strongly by evidence garnered from a serious amount of research. I wanted to savour it, and so I chose to dip in and out of this book at very quiet moments when I could concentrate. This is not a book I could easily read on a train, or anywhere with distra
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Today's nonfiction post is on Shakespeare's First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book by Emma Smith. It is 320 pages long and is published by Oxford University Press. The cover is black with the first folio on the bottom opened to Richard the Third. The intended reader is someone very interested in the physical history of the copies of the first folio. There is no foul mild language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- This is a biography of a
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a book. It's described as a biography of a book which seemed odd. Bios means life, and much as I view books as more than thinly sliced trees with some writing on can they really have a life? A biography often has a few pages on the early years of a life, focusing instead on the later years which the reader will more easily identify and understand. The story of a book is more typically before creation - the struggles of writing/producing. Perhaps something of the publicity to ...more
Sae Kitamura
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most interesting books on the First Folio I have ever read, along with Eric Rasmussen's The Shakespeare Thefts. Emma Smith's analyses on annotations are clear and elaborate, through which we can understand the users' book-related activities. The chapters on performance and facsimiles are also intellectually stimulating.
And I am very happy she referred to my (really boring bibliographical) PhD thesis in this book!
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Probably would have given it 2.5 stars. It has worthwhile information if you're interested in Shakespeare, but I felt it went on a little long and I had to force myself to pick it up near the end.
Mills College Library
822.33 S6467 2016
Mike Jensen
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am interviewing the author from my "Talking Books" column in SHAKESPEARE NEWSLETTER, and so do not feel I should comment here other than to say that the book is enormous fun.
Stuart Cole
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very readable, covering a lot of ground in a relatively short book. On point and informative.
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