Pages i-iii in this new book are photo reproductions of pages from Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, a book first published in 1623. It is among the most studied books in the English language and contains eighteen plays that had not previously appeared in print, among them The Tempest, Measure for Measure, and Macbeth.
Foliomania! Stories Behind Shakespeare’s Most Important Books was printed on Mohawk Via Vellum this year by Penmor Lithographers in Lewiston, Maine to accompany the exhibition Fame, Fortune, and Theft: The Shakespeare First Folio presented at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. from June 3 to September 3, 2011.
The new soft-covered book is the same size as the original, 8 5/8” x 13 ¾” upright, and is typeset in Williams Caslon. It is called Foliomania! in reference to the passion for possessing a copy of the original rare book, a covetousness that persists undiminished to this day. The Folger Shakespeare Library, which published Foliomania!, has 82 copies of the original thanks primarily to Henry and Emily Folger who collected 79 of them throughout their lives.
Both the original book, and the new book of essays about the original, will appeal to a wide range of viewers bringing different perspectives and knowledge to the experience, from the casual browser and budding Shakespearean to the learned book collector and avid bibliophile.
If you get a chance to visit the exhibit, it’s worth seeing so many of these Folios in one place, each with its own history and many with reader’s notations in the margins. “Can one desire too much of a good thing?” – (As You Like It, Act IV, Scene I). I think not.
Client: The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC
Design: Bruce Kennett Studio, North Conway, NH
Printer: Penmor Lithographers, Lewiston, ME
Bindery: Acme Bookbinding, Charlestown, MA
Paper: Acid-free Mohawk Via Vellum