COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression
COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression
COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression
COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression
COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression

COMEDIES, HISTORIES, AND TRAGEDIES. Published according to the true Originall Coppies. The second Impression

(London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot, and are to be fold at the signe of the Blacke Beare in Pauls Church-yard, 1632).

A RARE COMPLETE COPY OF THE SECOND FOLIO, PERHAPS THE GREATEST BOOK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. It is less and less common these days to find copies of the second folio without one or more of the preliminaries, and more often than not, the final leaf, in facsimile. This copy contains the original 1632 leaves and contains no facsimiles. The "To the Reader" leaf has been trimmed and relaid onto a larger sheet. That leaf is usually one of the first to disappear and reappear in facsimile. The early binding on this copy augments the examplar.
A Shakespeare folio is one of the most significant books for a collector of literature, and the Second Folio is the earliest copy still generally available to him or her, as most of the First Folios reside in institutional hands and currently can cost upwards of $10,000,000..
The second folio is also significant for Milton collectors as it includes, on the Effigies leaf, his first published poem, entitled "An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare."
The original folio printing of Shakespeare's works in all likelihood owes its existence to two of the Bard's principle actors, Henry Condell and John Heminges. Prior to the first folio there had been only a few "curious and rather shabby" collections of Shakespearian and non-Shakespearian works published under the bard's name. After Shakespeare's death Condell and Heminges dedicated themselves to producing a folio volume of all of his plays that would be accurate and authoritative "..only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our Shakespeare." Their dedication, combined with help from others, eventually led to the publication of the First Folio in 1623. Without the hard work of these friends there is no knowing how many of the plays might have been lost in the years that followed. These two actor's work not only preserved the memory of their great friend but is perhaps the single most important publishing endeavor of English literature. How much the modern English-speaking world owes to these two men will never be calculable.
The Second Folio contains JOHN MILTON S FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT: an epitaph on Shakespeare in 16 verses, incipit: What neede my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones; it appears on the same page A5r as "Upon the Effigies" in eight verses, incipit: Spectator, this Lifes Shaddow is; To see. The inner form containing these two poems is recorded in several states (in the Bruce copy: "Comicke" in line 3, "Laugh" in line 4, "passions" with ligatured double-s in line 6 of the "Effigies" poem); the outer form contains the title (A2r), whose setting varies according to the publisher in the imprint. Like its predecessor, from which the edition was set page-for-page, the Second Folio has survived in relatively numerous copies, but it is now rarely found complete. This copy comports with Allot title-page 4, Effigies leaf C as is correct, with the watermark in the Effigies leaf.

COLLATION:A6*4 (A1r blank, A1v Ben Jonson's verses To the Reader, A2r letterpress title and Martin Droeshout's engraved portrait of the playwright, verso blank, A3 editors' dedication to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, A4r editors' note To the great variety of Readers, verso blank, A5 r verses Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author Master William Shakespeare and An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare [the latter by John Milton (1608-743], verso blank, A6r verses To the memorie of the deceased Authorby L.DignesanUl.M.,versoblank,*1rTheNamesofthePriPcipall Actors in all these Playes, verso blank, *2 Ben Jonsons verses To the memory of my beloved, The Author, *3 verses On Worthy Master Shakespeare and his Poems by l.M.S., *4r Hugh Holland's verses Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenicke Poet, *4v A Catalogue of all the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies contained in this Booke); 2A-Z, Aa - Bb6 Cc2 (Comedies: 2A1r The Tempest, B4v The Two Gentlemen of Verona, D2r The Merry Wives of Windsor, Flr Measure for Measure, Hlr The Comedie of Errors, 13r Much a doe about Nothing, Llv Loves Labour's lost ,Nlr A MidSommer Nights Dredme, 04rThe Merchant Of Venice, Q3r As you like it, S2v The Taming of the Shrew, Vlv All s Well, that Ends Well, Y2r Twelfe Night, Or who you will, Z6v blank, Aalr The Winters Tale, Cc2v blank); a_y6 (Histories: alr The life and death of King John, b6r The Life and Death of King Richard the Second, d5v The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Sirnamed Hot-spurre, f6v The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, Containing his Death and the Coronation of King Henry the Fift, i2r Epiiogue, i2v The Actors Names, i3r The Life of King Henry the Fift, 14v The first Part of King Henry the Sixt, n4v The second Part of King Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Good Duke Humfrey, p6r The third Part of King Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Duke of Yorke, sir The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Eorie Richmond, and the Battell of BosworÉh Field, u5r The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight); aa-zz aaa-ccc6 ddd~ (Tragedies: aalr The Prologue, aalv The Tragedie of Troyiusand Cressida, cc3v The Tragedy of Coriolaous, ee6v The Lamentabie Tragedy of Titus Andronicus, gg5v The Tragodie of Romeo and Juliet, ii6r The Lifeof Tymon of Athens, 114v The Actors Names, 115r The Tragedieof Jlullus Caesar, nn4r The Tragedie of Macbeth, pp2v The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, rr6r The Tragedie of King Lear, vv1v The Tragedy of Othelio, the Moore of Venice, yy4v The Tragedy of Anthony, and Cleopatra, bbbir The Tragody o Cymbeiine, ddd4r colophon, verso blank).

Greg 3:1113-5; Pforzheimer 906; STC 22274. A.W. Pollard. Shakespeare Folios and Quartos. A Study in the Bibliography of Shakespeare's Plays. London, 1909. Robert Metcalf Smith. The Variant Issues of Shakespeare's Second Folio and Milton's First Published English Poem. A Bibliographical Problem.
W.B. Todd. "The Issues and States of the Second Folio and Milton's Epitaph," in: Studies in Bibliography V (1952-53), pp 81-108.
W.W. Greg. A Bibliography or the English Printed Drama to the Restoration. (London, 1957), pp l I l3- 15. Item #31631

Second Folio edition. Allot title-page 4, Effigies leaf C as is correct, with the watermark in the Effigies leaf. Engraved portrait by Martin Droeshout on title-page, woodcut ornaments and initials and elaborate engraved head-pieces throughout. Folio (315 x 215 mm), in a very handsome binding of full and very early mottled calf, expertly rebacked to style with the spine panel elaborately decorated with classical tooling in gilt. The spine with raised bands gilt tooled, the compartments filled with exquisite gilt work. Marbled endleaves to style. Housed in a fine full red morocco solander case, the spine gilt lettered between raised bands. A very handsome and attractive copy, quite clean and crisp with strong images throughout, a bit of the usual mild mellowing or evidence of age occasionally present. The "To the Reader" leaf has been skillfully laid into a larger sheet. The title-page is remargined at the gutter and lower edge. Lower corner of l3 (misprinted h3) torn with the loss of approximately 5 short words; upper corner of l4 torn with slight loss of the ruled border; lower corner of ccc5 repaired; a few upper margins shaved with slight loss to ruled border, marbled endleaves and pastedowns.

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Price: $423,500.00