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Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies....

Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression.

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Published: London Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot, and are to be sold, 1632

Stock Code: 122965

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


The Second Folio, that is, the second edition, first issue, of the collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, set page-for-page from a corrected copy of the First Folio, 1623, edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). This is the edition of which William Prynne complained that it was printed on best crown paper. It is estimated that the original edition was of 1,000 copies, shared between the five publishers listed in the colophon, all of whom were proprietors of rights to one or more of the plays. This copy is one of those printed for Robert Allot, who took the lion's share. The book is also notable for containing "An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare" by John Milton, printed on the Effigies leaf, the first of his English-language poems to be printed.
As shown by William Todd, only the true first issue was published in 1632. The imprint of this copy is Todd's state Ia; the page with Milton's verse (i.e., the inner forme of the same sheet) is his state Ib, corrected to read ''Comicke'' ''Laugh'' and ''passions'' with ligatured double-s. In 1641 and later, remainder sheets were sold with this sheet (A2.5) in two distinct re-settings.
The binder James Hayday (1796-1872) ran one of the larger London firms for nearly 30 years from 1833. His work was always good quality, even on occasion spectacular. Hayday went bankrupt in 1861, unable to compete against cheaper binders, and sold the use of his name to William Mansell of Oxford, who succeeded to his bookbinding establishment.

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Median folio (327 x 219 mm). Mid 19th-century red crushed morocco, spine divided into six compartments by raised bands, gilt-lettered direct in second, dated in third, other compartments with gilt cornerpieces, sides with wide gilt frames enclosing centrepiece, board edges and turn-ins gilt, marbled endpapers, edges gilt over earlier red, by Hayday. Red morocco backed folding-case.


Engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout (third state) on the title-page, woodcut initials and head- and tailpieces, text printed in two columns within rules.


Provenance: Richard Manney (bookplate; his sale, Sotheby's New York, 11 October 1991, lot 279); Richard L. "Rick" Adams, Jr. (book label). Spine faded, extremities a bit rubbed, a few scuffmarks; the first leaf with Jonson's "To the Reader" inlaid, title-page lightly soiled and with marginal repair, Aa6 with marginal repair touching 2 letters and costing a bit of rule, marginal repairs to last several leaves, very occasional tiny rustholes or light soiling, a number of minor corrections in an early hand. A tall and very fresh copy.


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