Skip to comments.Christie’s to Offer Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio’
Posted on 01/14/2020 11:18:43 AM PST by nickcarraway
William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, known as the First Folio, could fetch between $4 million and $6 million at an upcoming auction at Christies New York.
The book was published in 1623 by his friends and fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell after Shakespeare died in 1616 at age 52. Containing 36 of Shakespeares plays, the First Folio is the first authoritative collection of his plays and ranks as one of the greatest works of world literature.
The copy was offered for sale from the collection of Mills College in Oakland, Calif. Its one of only six complete copies known to exist in private hands and was once owned by Shakespeare scholar Edmond Malone, according to Christies.
The First Folio is credited for saving 18 of Shakespeares plays that may have otherwise been lost forever, including Macbeth, The Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, and Julius Caesar, Christies said.
(Excerpt) Read more at barrons.com ...
Thanks nickcarraway. Most of the known surviving copies of the First Folio belong to the Folger Shakespeare Library, if memory serves.
233/750 is pretty good number to have survived, and speaks to the fact a lot of people appreciated his work, even if he wasn’t so renowned.
Not least because the 1666 Great Fire of London wiped out so much.
When I need my ‘Shakespeare Fix’ I head for American Players Theater, about 45 minutes from my farm. Simply superb and just a magical setting.
‘Julius Caesar’ this season! *SQUEAL*
Broadway-Quality theater in the Wisconsin Woods. ‘Macbeth’ is my favorite, though I love them all. Everything from Shakespeare to modern productions.
Id be in for this if I had a spare 6 million lying around.
The Folger Shakespeare Library has 82 First Folios of Shakespeare, the largest collection in the world. A total of 235 First Folios are known to survive; the Folger First Folios include more than a third of them. The next largest group is at Meisei University in Tokyo, Japan, which has 12 First Folios.
Suspect it will sell for more than $25 million. Europeans are becoming wistful of what they have lost and Asians want to buy in.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company is enough.
You’re in good company.
“Some of Shakespeares plays I have never read; while others I have gone over perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader. Among the latter are Lear, Richard Third, Henry Eighth, Hamlet, and especially Macbeth. I think nothing equals Macbeth. It is wonderful.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1863
In an 1860 biography of candidate Lincoln, journalist William Dean Howells wrote that Mr. Lincoln was a diligent student of Shakespeare, to know whom is a liberal education.
There’s no denying this. Historian William E. Gienapp: “Lincolns gift for language was marvelous, even poetic, so much so that he is the only American president other than Thomas Jefferson whose writings can be considered literature.
Not bad for a man who had about a year of formal education.
The reason someone might want more than one First Folio is the fact that the Shakespeare folios were basically done on a shoestring. They had no ability to go mass-market, and the cost of printing each folio was critical. So they sold every folio they printed, and continuously edited and updated the text as they went along.
The Millionaire and the Bard was fascinating to me. Millionaire Folger wasnt a coffee man. He was John D. Rockefeller Sr.s right hand man.
Thank you for finding that! :)
Folger wasnt a coffee man. He was John D. Rockefeller Sr.s right hand man.
Still, there are *grounds* for more research! /jk
RWhen those BBC productions from the 1970s became available in the Grand Rapids library, I checked out four (that was the max then) titles which I'd never seen performed, including "Measure for Measure" and "Timon of Athens" (frankly, I had no recollection of the name of that one; I don't think there are any well-known quotes from that one). The full set of 37 plays was something like two grand back then, a completely ridiculous figure; a few years later five of the comedies, five of the history plays, and five of the tragedies, were sold in separate box sets for around $100 each (I saw them at Sam's and didn't bite).
Samuel Johnson on Shakespeare:
“Shakespeare is above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of nature; the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirrour of manners and of life. His characters are not modified by the customs of particular places, unpractised by the rest of the world; by the peculiarities of studies or professions, which can operate but upon small numbers; or by the accidents of transient fashions or temporary opinions: they are the genuine progeny of common humanity, such as the world will always supply, and observation will always find. His persons act and speak by the influence of those general passions and principles by which all minds are agitated, and the whole system of life is continued in motion. In the writings of other poets a character is too often an individual; in those of Shakespeare it is commonly a species.”
There you have it - Shakespeare is for all time.
Check this out:
Lady Macbeth’s mind is overwhelmed with guilt from her complicity in the murder of Duncan. She is tormented no end.
Macbeth: How does your patient, doctor?
Doctor: Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick coming fancies,
That keep her from her rest.
MACBETH: Cure her of that.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
Doctor: Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Here Shakespeare (it seems to me) anticipates Freud by about 400 years. Macbeth thought the Doctor might be able to prescribe some physic (medicine) to cure her mental affliction. The Doctor says there’s no such nickel-in-the-slot therapeutic that can cure her. There’s no such thing as a pill for every human malady, especially maladies of the mind. What a profound insight.
As another Johnson (well, Jonson) said, "he was not for an age, but for all time."
I’ve also noticed a rash of current ‘novels’ that take stories from Greek and Roman Mythology and embellish them, trying to make the ‘gods’ more human and tell their back story.
I’ve loved the classic Myths and the characters since High School, so I gave ‘The Song of Achilles’ a shot. While it was well-written and held my attention, of course they had to bring in the ‘pretend fact’ that Achilles was gay. The book would’ve been just as good WITHOUT that cr@p.
Fer Pete’s Sake! Why? Why, why, why? Thank goodness I can then cleanse my brain with a manly man like Jack Reacher, or Travis McGee, LOL!
P.S. Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher! The movies are awful! How could Lee Child (Author) go along with that! Aarrggg!
Also - ‘A Thousand Acres’ by Jane Smiley, was a fabulous re-telling of King Lear - as are any number of dysfunctional family novels. The ‘classics’ will always be the best story lines, IMHO. ;)
The source and genre is unimportant, only the agenda is. Imagine hat will someday soon happen in the revival of, say, Wallace and Gromit or Gumby and Pokey, or even a reboot of the Lego Movie.
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