We carry a rare Second Shakespeare Folio, also known as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Besides being extremely excited about having this unique book and piece of history, we wanted to share exactly what the Second Folio is and why it is so important.
The Second Shakespeare Folio is essentially the second edition of the First Folio, published nine years after the first in 1632. Besides being the second edition, there are several other distinct differences between the First and Second Folios. People closely connected to those who published the First Folio published the Second Folio. The First Folio had the same title page for all copies of its edition. The Second Folio has each member’s name on a separate title page with information on the purchasers and location of each shop it was sold in. Our version states, “London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.” It is one of an estimated 200 copies still in existence today.
The Second Folio was also the first place an English Poem of John Milton’s appeared in print, An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramaticke, which was written in 1630. It is thought that the publisher, Thomas Cotes, added this poem to the backside of the title page because John Milton was the son of a successful clerk whose shop was very close to Cotes’ printing shop.
Scholars have noted that the Second Folio contains many new typographical errors from the First Folio, but also corrects many errors that can be found in the first edition. It is important to note that both King Charles I and II owned a copy of the Second Folio. King Charles I edition is now a part of the library at Windsor Castle and King Charles II edition is in the British Museum.
To learn more about our copy of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, also known as the Second Shakespeare Folio, click here. To view all of our works by Shakespeare, including Midsummer-Night’s Dream and the first quarto edition of Shakespeare’s works, click here.