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For proof that Shakespeare’s genius was evident to his contemporaries, look no further than the collection of plays published seven years after his death: Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (1623), today often called his First Folio. Compiled by two actors from Shakespeare’s theatre company in an effort to save his works for posterity, the book features 36 of his plays, including such classics as Macbeth, The Tempest and Twelfth Night, as well as the annotations made over time by the book’s early owners. In this video, Elizabeth James, senior librarian at the National Art Library in London, and Harriet Reed, curator of contemporary performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, open and explore this fascinating 400-year-old document, detailing its creation, content and enduring influence.
Video by the Victoria and Albert Museum
Directors: Hannah Kingwell, Holly Hyams
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