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Mr. William Shakespear's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. Unto which is added, Seven Plays, Never before Printed in Folio... The Fourth edition
London: Printed for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley. 4th Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. THE 1685 FOURTH FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE: A very good, complete, exceptionally tall copy. A Shakespeare folio represents one of the highest points of collecting in the English language. The first folio, published in 1623 (now virtually unobtainable), is the first complete collection of Shakespeare's plays; without it, the English-speaking world would have little or no record of many of the greatest and most influential works in the Western world.  Three seventeeth-century folio editions followed: The Second Folio, 1632; The Third Folio, 1663-64; The Fourth Folio, 1685. The rarity of Shakespeare folios available for private purchase in recent years is well-documented. Harold M. Otness, in his 1990 census of Shakespeare folios, explains: "The number of copies of each edition printed is lost, but speculation puts the press runs at several hundred copies each... American institutions hold at least 561 copies of the four editions combined, which may constitute as many as half of the extant copies worldwide." In the last century there has been a steady transfer of folios from private hands to public libraries and institutions as many try to complete "sets" of the four folios, or recognize the necessity of owning a folio to anchor any collection of English language and literature. The opportunity for a private individual to own a folio is becoming increasingly scarce.  THIS COPY OF THE FOURTH FOLIO IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION: The Shakespeare folios are notoriously poorly-printed and, because of their popularity and importance, well-handled. As Otness notes: "Most copies of the Shakespeare Folios show considerable wear and have replacement pages. This is particularly true of the title and portrait pages and other introductory leaves... The Folios have been subjected to considerable wear over the years, and 'perfect' copies are rare today." The Brewster/Bentley issue (presumed first issue), without Chiswell's name on title page. London: Printed for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, 1685. Folio, 18th-century full sheep rebacked, red leather labels. Final leaf supplied from another copy of the same edition, portrait washed and pressed with a few almost undetectable paper repairs; interior very clean with only minor blemishes, four leaves in center of text treated at an early date. One of the tallest copies on record: 369x233mm, the same as the famed George Daniel - Abel Berland copy. A wide-margined copy in beautiful early binding of one of the most desirable books in all of collecting. Rare.
      [Bookseller: The Manhattan Rare Book Company]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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