Shakespeare First Folio at Seattle Public Library

by Marina

“Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, more commonly referred to as the First Folio, is considered one of the most important books in the world. The publication of the First Folio in 1623 was a significant event, both for the preservation of Shakespeare’s works and in the history of English printing. The Folio contains 36 plays, 18 of which were never published prior to the Folio, and may have been lost otherwise. Scholars estimate that up to 750 copies of the First Folio were printed in 1623. Today, we know the whereabouts of 233, an amazing survival rate when compared to other 17th century publications. Each of the surviving copies tells its own story through its history, marginal notes and printing variants.” –Seattle Public Library (About First Folio)

The First Folio will be on display at the Central Branch of Seattle Public Library (SPL) from March 21-April 17, 2016. Not only can you view the First Folio (open to the page of Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy, pictured above) but SPL will have a variety of lectures, panels, movie screenings, live performances, and workshops in conjunction with the display. All events sponsored by SPL are free to the public but to view the First Folio you have to request timed admission tickets (free of charge). Even though the First Folio doesn’t go on display until March 21st, SPL has a few events scheduled prior to that–the first one being a panel discussion by local Shakespearean experts on Sunday, February 21st.

So, before you have “shuffled off this mortal coil” take some time to drive down to Seattle and view a piece of printed history that’s almost 400 years old. It’ll be worth the parking hassle, I’m sure.

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