2016 was a time of celebrating the 400 years since Shakespeare left us back in 1616. A plethora of celebratory activities and events transpired throughout the year–yet, his influence continues as we head into his 401st year of influence.
One of my highlights involved going to see the traveling First Folio show. Even though I had previously encountered a First Folio up close and very personal at my Folger Library Hamlet Academy adventure, I couldn’t resist being part of a greater event and traveled eight hours to experience the Folio hoopla with other Bard appreciators. Definitely worth the drive.
Lots of information abounded about the Bard, including this nifty fact sheet about the Folio provided by the Folger Shakespeare Library (www.folger.edu/ConnectED) They listed 21 facts; however, these are the top 7 in my eyes:
1.The First Folio was printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.
2. Shakespeare’s First Folio was the first folio ever published in England devoted exclusively to plays. Plays were not considered literature at that point in time.
3. The folio was put together by two of Shakespeare’s friends and acting colleagues–John Heminge and Henry Condell.
4. The First Folio contains 36 plays grouping them into comedies, histories, and tragedies.
5. Scholars generally believe that about 750 copies of the First Folio were printed in 1623.
6. A finished First Folio in a calfskin binding cost about one pound in 1623, which today roughly equals between $150-$200. In 2001, a First Folio sold at Christies for just over $6.1 million. The most recent sale was in 2006, when a First Folio sold at Sotheby’s for $5.2 million.
7. Since there haven’t been any manuscript copies of the plays written in Shakespeare’s handwriting, the First Folio is the closest thing we have to the plays as Shakespeare wrote them.image: biography.com