The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios

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St. Martin's Press, Oct 11, 2011 - Antiques & Collectibles - 240 pages

Part literary detective story, part Shakespearean lore, The Shakespeare Thefts will charm the Bard's many fans.

The first edition of Shakespeare's collected works, the First Folio, published in 1623, is one of the most valuable books in the world and has historically proven to be an attractive target for thieves. Of the 160 First Folios listed in a census of 1902, 14 were subsequently stolen-and only two of these were ever recovered.

In his efforts to catalog all these precious First Folios, renowned Shakespeare scholar Eric Rasmussen embarked on a riveting journey around the globe, involving run-ins with heavily tattooed criminal street gangs in Tokyo, bizarre visits with eccentric, reclusive billionaires, and intense battles of wills with secretive librarians. He explores the intrigue surrounding the Earl of Pembroke, arguably Shakespeare's boyfriend, to whom the First Folio is dedicated and whose personal copy is still missing. He investigates the uncanny sequence of events in which a wealthy East Coast couple drowned in a boating accident and the next week their First Folio appeared for sale in Kansas. We hear about Folios that were censored, the pages ripped out of them, about a volume that was marked in red paint-or is it blood?-on every page; and of yet another that has a bullet lodged in its pages.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antao - LibraryThing

No Redemption for First Folio Thieves: "The Shakespeare Thefts" by Eric Rasmussen Published October 30, 2012. I’m lost in the desert, beer thirsty, hungry, and desperately searching for any sort of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Alliebadger - LibraryThing

I think calling Eric Rasmussen the "Indiana Jones" of First Folios is overstating it a bit. An interesting read specifically for Shakespeare/history/book history nerds. I lost interest when there were ... Read full review

Contents

The Gondomar Copy
1
Two First Folio Hunters
17
The Durham University Copy
27
Four The Waiting Is the Hardest Part
47
The Manchester University Copy
55
Six The Popes Sticky Fingers
59
The Pembroke Copies
65
Eight Nationalism Bullets and a Recovered Treasure
71
Fourteen Obsessed
123
The Williams College Copy
129
Sixteen Why Is The Whore of Babylon Well Thumbed?
145
The Hereford Cathedral Copy
151
Eighteen Creative Control
157
The William Beeston Copy
161
Twenty The Worlds Worst Stolen Treasure
167
Appendix The Making of the Shakespeare First Folio
173

The Sir Thomas Phillipps Copy
81
Ten Looking into Shakespeares Eyes
91
The Fiske Harris Copy
99
Twelve Got to Get Ourselves Back the Garden
107
Royalist Copies Puritan Copies
113
Acknowledgments
183
Notes
187
Index
207
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Eric Rasmussen is department chair and professor of English at the University of Nevada. He is co-editor of the RSC Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the Norton Anthology of English Renaissance Drama, and of the works of Christopher Marlowe in the Oxford World's Classics series as well as individual plays in the Arden Shakespeare series, the Revels Plays series, and the Malone Society series. Since 1997, he has written the annual review of editions and textual studies for Shakespeare Survey. He lives in Reno, Nevada.

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