The First Folio of Shakespeare


Printed in the large “folio” size, the First Folio is the first collected edition of the plays of William Shakespeare. It was put together after his death in 1616 by two fellow actors, John Heminge and Henry Condell, and was published in 1623. The book contains the complete text of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. The principal publishers were Edward Blount (1565–1632), a London bookseller and publisher, and Isaac Jaggard (died 1627), son of William Jaggard (circa 1568–1623), a printer and publisher long associated with Shakespeare, who died the year the folio was produced. How many copies of the First Folio were printed is unknown, but the edition most likely was quite small: probably no more than 750 copies. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC holds 82 copies of the First Folio, about a third of those still in existence, and by far the largest collection in the world. Presented here is copy 68 of this collection.

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Title in Original Language

Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies

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Physical Description

455 pages, irregular pagination : 1 portrait (engraving) ; 34 centimeters

Last updated: November 30, 2016