First Folioage

[banner] First Folio yellow leaves do hang

23 April 2023
· Fallen leaves about the First Folio ·

The 230-odd surviving copies of the First Folio edition of my plays will be 400 years old this fall. The book was registered with the Stationers on 8 November 1623, prior to its publication. That’s not the date it went into the shop window, but it’s as close as is known.

The anniversary fuss and feathers has already begun. I have something in mind to scribble for the day, but to tide you over until then here are my existing First Folio posts in their own list. Save you scrolling through the index if you haven’t already read them. Chronological order.

[twcard] breakfast printer393 Years of Printing: Plays to Pancakes on a Pilgrimage
26 February 2017
Some of the many First Folios possessed by the Folger toured the USA in 2016. I crossed paths with one of them, so I had a look. I also considered some newer printing.

[twcard] Try Again partial textGuest Poet Ben Jonson: To the Reader. Try Again.
4 March 2017
Ben was disappointed in all who missed the point of his First Folio preface. Here is his rewrite, for the knotty-pated.

[twcard] Ariel and beeThe Apian Demiſe of the Accurſed ſ
1 March 2018
Two centuries after my death I helped to bury the typographic medial ſ. The explanation is found in the First Folio and other early editions of The Tempest.

[twcard] Droeshout Winter parsnipsThe Graver’s Strife
26 April 2019
Was Martin Droeshout a lousy engraver? By other examples of his work, not at all. The First Folio image of Willy was meant to be bad. This says a lot.

[twcard] WS put to good use at lastDiseases Desperate Growne
18 March 2020
What began as an advance blurb for the auction of a 1623 First Folio morphed in real time to ponder existential matters of plague, death, and toilet roll.

[twcard] manicule psalm 59 adviceSuch News As This
7 June 2020
Too much news in the world these days. The current non-status of the NYC First Folio auction, my 470th-birthday gift of a Big Red First Folio (facsimile), and a modern update to manicules.

[twcard] FF spine topFirst Folio 1: Sell When You Can
13 October 2020
The 1623 First Folio will (finally) be auctioned tomorrow in New York. It’s one of the last copies still privately owned, and is in exceptionally good condition. Post 1 of 2, Prologue.

[twcard] FF title page fixed detailFirst Folio 2: You Are Not For All Markets
14 October 2020
Following the auction of Mills College’s First Folio, I report the result and make a unique offer to the book’s new, poorer, owner. Post 2 of 2, Epilogue.

I’m overdue for a new one. November will be here soon enough.

[November arrives]

[twcard] plague woodcut detailFirst Folio, Almost
8 November 2023
Four hundred years ago the First Folio of my collected plays was published. Three years ago I almost got my hands on one. Almost.