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E-town College only Pennsylvania location to host Shakespeare Folio

Oct 13th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page, News

ELIZABETHTOWN, PA – Only 235 exist, and one is coming to Elizabethtown College in November. That ‘one’ is an almost-400-year-old Shakespeare Folio—a bound volume of hand-printed plays, some of which exist only in the Folio.

When William Shakespeare died in 1616, only about half of his plays had been printed and, if it had not been for the interest of two 17th-century actors, several of the Bard’s best known works could have been lost forever. But, in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, John Heminge and Henry Condell, collected 36 of Shakespeare’s plays to print in folio form.

It’s believed 750 or fewer copies of the First Folio were printed. Just 235 survive, and 82 are in the Folger Shakespeare Library collection in Washington, D.C. One location in each of the United States, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have the opportunity to host the exhibit.

“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” begins Nov. 10 at Elizabethtown College’s High Library—the only Folio exhibit location in Pennsylvania.

“This is very special,” said Joshua Cohen, instruction and outreach librarian at the College’s High Library. “It’s a big honor to be part of this book tour. It’s an essential text to the humanities.”

Visitors will view a Folio opened to Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy. The exhibit includes panels and digital content. Student museum guides are available at select times to answer questions and share facts.

Because proofreading took place at the same time as printing in 1623, each surviving Folio is slightly different. “This book would have been expensive to produce,” said Cohen, pointing out that the font is ornate and some words are spelled differently or are in Latin. “This is not the Shakespeare you would read in modern version of the text today.”

The 36 Folio plays are grouped into comedies, histories and tragedies, and the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, considered an authentic image, is included. Quite fortunate for intervening generations, the Folio contains 18 plays that had never been published—“All’s Well That Ends Well,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “As You Like It,” “Comedy of Errors,” “Coriolanus,” “Cymbeline,” “1 Henry VI,” “Henry VIII,” “Julius Caesar,” “King John,” “Macbeth,” “Measure for Measure,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Tempest,” “Timon of Athens,” “Twelfth Night,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Winter’s Tale.”

First Folio runs Wednesday through Sunday Nov. 10 through Dec. 4 in High Library and, as complement, Elizabethtown College is offering educational programs and related events—family workshops, theatrical performances, music recitals and readings. In addition, the library will host Will’s Words: A Shakespeare Art & Design Exhibit with works by Elizabethtown College students.

View the exhibit hours, parking information and a full events schedule.

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