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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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(p.121) Chapter 2 Reading
Shakespeare's First Folio

Emma Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the extensive marks and annotations made in copies of the First Folio during the first century of its life. It develops more extended analyses of a heavily annotated copy showing how William Johnstoune read the plays in the first half of the seventeenth century, and locates a number of other specific copies in provincial locations around Britain. It establishes the early modern contexts of reading as commonplacing and develops these with a range of examples. It also finds readers who are attentive to the plays as theatre, to the technology of the book itself, and who make minor and trivial corrections in very localised areas of the book. A surprisingly large number of women have written their names in First Folios and something of their reading experience is uncovered.

Keywords:   Reading, commonplacing, women, Johnstoune, William, correcting, theatre, ownership, signatures, provincial context

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