In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the CSUEB University Libraries are displaying two rare original copies of Shakespeare plays taken from the folio editions of his work issued shortly after his death. On display on the Upper Mall of the Hayward campus Library are a copy of Twelfth Night, Or What You Will, taken from the second folio of 1632 and a copy of Measure For Measure taken from the fourth folio of 1685.
From April 17, through May 31, 2016, you can view Shakespeare folios from the Special Collections of the CSUEB Libraries, in their display case in the Upper Mall elevator lobby.
The first 1623 folio edition of Shakespeare’s work was compiled just seven years after his death by John Heminge and Henry Condell, Shakespeare’s friends and colleagues in his acting company the King's Men, in an effort to present definitive version of Shakespeare’s plays. Previously, the large folio format had been reserved only for prestigious or important volumes. Stage plays had not been considered as serious literature and had only been published in smaller, single-play editions. Of the 36 plays compiled in the first edition, 18 had never been published before in any form and others had been issued in smaller, sometimes pirated editions that varied drastically in their text. In the preface to the folio edition, Heminge and Condell state that Shakespeare’s writings "are now offer'd to your view cured, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers as he conceived them." The first folio edition sold so well that it was followed by three more editions, each making changes and corrections to the text. These four folio editions would represent the first folio ever consisting only of an author’s plays and would serve as the basis for most future publications of Shakespeare’s work.
As has been the case with so many of our past opportunities to display our holdings in the CSUEB Libraries' Special Collections, Shakespeare's 400th anniversary was suggested by Associate Provost Linda Dobb.
Linda is well aware of the richness of the Libraries' holdings in Special Collections, having served as University Librarian herself for several years. We are grateful to her, and are pleased to have this chance to share some of that richness with you!
Producer: Jared Mariconi
Text, Poster and Graphic Design: Jared Mariconi
Copyright 2016 by the CSUEB University Libraries