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The First Folio of Shakespeare

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The First Folio of Shakespeare

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The First Folio of Shakespeare

Is Shakespeare the most famous playwright in the world? Most people would say so. That makes the first copy of his collected plays one of the most important books in the world. There were only 500 copies printed in 1623, but there are still 238 surviving, many of them on public display. Some of the plays had never been printed before – the First Folio contains the only version we have of “Macbeth”, for example – so it was vital in preserving Shakespeare’s work for future generations. We know that the Folio doesn’t contain all the plays that Shakespeare wrote (or helped to write) and we know that there are lots of mistakes in it, but it’s still the first step on any Shakespeare lover’s journey.

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Your comments

This is the book that brought us some of the most amazing and most influential work in the history of drama - it brought us Hamlet and King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Midsummer Night's Dream; and even now, four hundred years on, its plays remain staples in the repertoire of every theatre company in the world.

Daniel Hahn


Because Shakespeare's plays are not just an icon of England and its literary heritage but have inspired and influenced many other iconic figures such as Dickens, Wordsworth and the Brontes. Also it's impossible for any young school pupil to escape Shakespeare's plays and so they continue to be an iconic part of our cultural and educational landscape.
Dr Elizabeth Woledge


It's an iconic image of Shakespearean drama and English literature in general.
Stephen Glynn


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I nominate the red pillar box.

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