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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

First Folio, The Book that Gave us Shakespeare

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 20, 2016

 

 The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is marking 2016, the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, by sending a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio to every state in the union. The exhibit opened today at Boise State University and I was delighted to share this  great family outing and teaching moment with 3 of my grandsons.

During Shakespeare’s lifetime his plays, which were written to be performed, not to be published, existed only as handwritten scripts or as quartos—single-play pamphlets that were often discarded. After his death, in 1616, some of his fellow actors assembled 36 of his scripts and published them as a folio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We viewed the Folio opened to Act III of Hamlet where the Prince of Denmark ponders the eternal question, “To be or not to be…” The printing was clear and the changes in the English language over 400 years were no interference to reading. In a quick perusal (there was a long line behind us) I spotted Hamlet’s rebuke to Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnerie.”

Seven hundred, fifty folios were published. They sold for about a pound each which would be about $200 in today’s money. 235 of these First Folios survive today. The Folger Library owns 82 of them. The copy on display in Boise is 393 years old, 630 pages long and is worth more than $5 million.

But the value to the world is incomparable. It is considered one of the most important artifacts in Western civilization.

  After viewing the display we attended the carnival in the garden where my grandsons got a taste of various aspects of Elizabethan life.

Readers interested in a modern look at producing Shakespeare’s plays will enjoy my literary suspense A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare where Elizabeth and Richard spend their honeymoon at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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