Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio.

“INCOMPARABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”: THE FOURTH FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE

Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio.

SHAKESPEARE, William.

$100,000.00

Item Number: RRB-5605.

London: Printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders 1685.

First edition of the Fourth Folio of Shakespeare. Bound in full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine. The fourth folio is the final and most magnificent of the four 17th-century folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The Fourth Folio “contains the additional seven plays that first appeared in the 1663 edition [including the authentic Pericles, Prince of Tyre], as well as a good deal of correction and modernization of the text designed to make it easier to read and understand” (Folger’s Choice). Old paper repair to verso of title-page, several other very minor paper repairs. Some browning and minimal staining, a very good example. As in some other copies, as Greg notes, number of errors in signatures have been corrected in manuscript, presumably at the time of publication. Although there is no accurate census of the number of folios still extant today, it is believed that copies of each printing number only in the hundreds. The rarest form of the fourth folio. This is the rare Knight and Saunders issue, with their names on the title-page. W. W. Greg observes, “Since the title is entirely reset it is presumably a cancel printed after the volume was complete and perhaps republished, and designed for those copies that Herringman chose to issue through his own booksellers” (Greg III, 1121). In 1684, Herringman turned over the retail side of his business to Francis Saunders and his partner Joseph Knight. Fourth Folios almost invariably bear the imprints “Herringman-Brewster-Bentley” or “Herringman-Brewster-Chiswell-Bentley.”

The Shakespeare Folios "have an aura of book magic about them. For a bibliophile it is a volume devoutly to be wished for and rarely attained; to a library it is a crowning jewel of a collection Shakespeare, indeed, is a name to conjure with. No lengthy explanation as a good deal of corres are needed; he is simply the most distinguished author in the English language" (Legacies of Genius, 36).

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If you are interested in an item from one of our catalogues or our website and would like more information before ordering it, please give us a call; one of our salespeople will be happy to speak with you and answer any questions that you might have. For some items, we can also email digital photographs.

All of our items are guaranteed as described and are shipped on approval. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, checks and wire transfer. For first-time buyers, we prefer a credit card and we will only ship to the billing address on the card. We do ask that if you are not satisfied with the item, you contact us by phone as quickly as possible and return the item within ten days.

We ship worldwide and all packages will be sent via UPS or Federal Express unless another carrier is requested. Next-day or second-day air service is available upon request. Shipping and insurance charges are additional.

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