The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio

By Andrea Mays

This present day it's the most useful publication on the earth. lately one bought for over 5 million funds. it's the ebook that rescued the identify of William Shakespeare and 1/2 his performs from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the surprising and romantic tale of the making of the 1st Folio, and of the yank industrialist whose exciting pursuit of the ebook turned a lifelong obsession.

When Shakespeare died in 1616 half his performs died with him. No one—not even their author—believed that his writings could final, that he was once a genius, or that destiny generations might have fun him because the maximum writer within the heritage of the English language. by the point of his dying his performs have been hardly played, eighteen of them had by no means been released, and the remaining existed simply in bastardized types that didn't remain real to his unique language.

Seven years later, in 1623, Shakespeare’s enterprise companions, partners, and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, accrued copies of the performs and manuscripts, edited and released thirty-six of them. this huge e-book, the 1st Folio, used to be meant as a memorial to their deceased good friend. they can no longer have recognized that it'll turn into the most vital books ever released within the English language, nor that it'll turn into a fetish item for creditors.

The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective tale, the story of 2 mysterious men—a excellent writer and his obsessive collector—separated by means of area and time. it's a story of 2 cities—Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age big apple. it's a chronicle of 2 worlds—of paintings and commerce—that opened up an ocean and 3 centuries aside. And it's the exciting story of the luminous publication that kept the identify of William Shakespeare “to the final syllable of recorded time.”

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S. W. Rosenbach, Books and Bidders: The Adventures of a Bibliophile (Boston: Little, Brown, 1927), 84–85. 28. West, The Shakespeare First Folio, 2:183. 29. Ibid. , 1:111. 30. “ENGLAND’S RAREST BOOKS BEING obtained through AMERICANS,” ny instances, July 12, 1914. 31. Time Literary complement, August sixteen, 1915. 32. The bill is quoted in complete in West, The Shakespeare First Folio, 1:24. 33. Folger archive. additionally see West, The Shakespeare First Folio, 2:243, in describing West 187, Lee 108. 34. Ibid. bankruptcy 10: “The fake Folio” 1.

He might retain Lee’s list within sight for the remainder of his lifestyles. Sidney Lee’s Census was once now not with out flaws. He had positioned simply 156 First Folios, and, might be simply because he relied upon the vendors’ subjective and infrequently inexpert solutions to his survey questions, Lee’s released descriptions of the of the 1st Folios incorporated many error. Lee had didn't collate each one replica, payment it for lacking or substitute leaves, word harm, degree the peak and width of the pages, learn the binding, investigate cross-check for laundry, or ensure the originality of the engraved portrait.

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