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First Folio Returns Home | Shakespeare in London

By February 26, 2015 2 Comments

A rare copy of the First Folio has begun its residence at the Globe Theatre in London.

The manuscript was discovered in a library at Saint-Omer, near Calais, France, in November 2014. It contains 36 of the 38 known Shakespeare plays and was originally printed in 1623, seven years after the playwright’s death. Only 800 copies were produced, of which between 230 and 240 are thought to still exist.

This copy is thought to have originally resided in a Jesuit college in Saint-Omer, and is believed to have found its way there during the French Revolution, the Guardian reports. It is further presumed that the Folio first came to France in the 17th century at a time when Jesuits were schooling priests and sheltering Catholic refugees fleeing persecution in England.

Evidence suggest this Folio was used by scholars or actors hundreds of years ago. There are a number of handwritten notes in the margins along with numerous amendments and corrections to the original text. The Folio is also missing 30 pages, including its title page.

The Folio will go on display at The Globe for two months in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The theatre is planning to build a dedicated Shakespearian library complete with a First, Second, and Third Folio, to ensure the Globe is “the first point of reference worldwide for the study of Shakespeare.”

Louie Woodall

Author Louie Woodall

Louie Woodall is a financial journalist living in London and an avid Shakespeare fan, whose passion for the playwright can be traced back to a bravura performance as Bottom the Weaver in 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' when he was fourteen. Since then he has nurtured his Bardolatry by frequenting performances of Shakespeare's plays in London and Stratford-Upon-Avon and, more recently, by studying and writing about The Sonnets. Louie's other interests include British politics, which he writes about for the Young Fabians group (, and food, which he both eats and writes about in copious amounts.

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