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Shakespeare's First FolioFour Centuries of an Iconic Book$
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Emma Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754367

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754367.001.0001

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Owning

Owning

Chapter:
(p.24) Chapter 1 Owning
Source:
Shakespeare's First Folio
Author(s):

Emma Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754367.003.0002

Three case studies, which trace copies of the First Folio from the seventeenth into the twenty-first century, set out some of the characters, movements, and motivations that have structured the circulation of this book. How, when, and for what purposes, did it travel across Europe and into Empire, and how are these residual legacies seen in the modern day? Why did individuals want to own it, particularly in the USA, and how has the book passed between institutions, private owners, and across countries? Considering the rising price of First Folios, this chapter also identifies the role of the book in tourism, in Shakespeare’s critical reception, in economics and conspicuous consumption, in education, and in the establishment of academic libraries. Finally, it discusses the ways in which the Folio has been constructed as a secular relic.

Keywords:   Collecting, economics, colonialism, Stratford-upon-Avon, America, Gilded Age, Folger, Henry Clay, Japan

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