SHAKESPEARE'S FIRST FOLIO

FOUR CENTURIES OF AN ICONIC BOOK

Perfect for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 “First Folio!” tour celebrating the book’s 400th anniversary.

A biography of the most valuable English-language book in the world.

The famous First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays exists thanks to two of the Bard’s fellow actors who pulled it all together seven years after his death. Nearly 1,000 pages long, it took two years to print, and when it went on sale, in 1623, it sold for 1 pound; buyers had to bind it themselves. The first printing was a bullish 750 copies. What happened next is what Smith (English/Hertford Coll., Oxford; The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, 2016, etc.) is most interested in: the book as cultural object. Who bought it, and why, and what did they do with it? Smith has traveled the globe to track down copies in order to write her “biblio-biography,” an “attempt to reconstruct the history of one particular book…how that book moved through time, space and, context.” Focusing first on the topic of “owning,” with its individual, cultural, and national desires, she traces in detail the movements of three specific Folios. After passing through various hands, one ended up in Henry Folger’s incredible library/museum (along with 81 others). A second ended up at a Japanese university, and the third went to Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 1624, was sold to a collector, and then came back thanks to fundraising efforts. In the “reading” section, Smith analyzes the range of marks and marginalia made early on in the Folios when they were a “real reading text,” as well as “early female engagement with the book.” “Decoding” is an intriguing look at the intense scholarly scrutiny Folios have generated, including a foray into the possibility of secret codes within textual irregularities. The final two sections deal with the use of Folios in the theater and “perfecting” the Folio: facsimiles, forgeries, and digital reproduction. It’s academic, yes, but thoroughly delightful for bibliophiles and Shakespeare lovers.

Perfect for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 “First Folio!” tour celebrating the book’s 400th anniversary.

Pub Date: June 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-19-875436-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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