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Celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare's First Folio

The School of Advanced Study and Senate House Library have announced an exciting programme of activities to mark the 400th anniversary of the First Folio.

8th November marks the 400th anniversary of the day that the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays was entered into the Stationers’ Register and became available for purchase.

To celebrate this important anniversary, the School of Advanced Study has partnered with Senate House Library for a programme of First Folio-related activity.

Senate House Library First Folios digitised 

Senate House Library have announced the full digitisation of both copies of the First Folio in their collection. 

For the first time, these copies of the First Folio are available for consultation digitally. Senate House Library holds two copies of the First Folio: the Durning-Lawrence Library copy and the Sterling Library copy.  These digital copies will allow scholars to consult the Folios remotely, for the images to be used in digital humanities initiatives and also helps the Library to preserve the material history of these special items. 

The Durning-Lawrence Library images can be seen here.

The Sterling Library images can be seen here.

The library are very grateful to Max Communications who digitised these copies for the Library.

New blogs published

To mark publication day, specialist staff from across SAS libraries have published a series of blogs about Shakespeare and his impact on their collections.

Lucy Mckenzie writes about Shakespeare's interest in sculpture for the Warburg Institute Library, Michael Townsend explores the sources of Macbeth in the IHR Wohl Library, and David Percik discusses the legal context of the time in which Shakespeare was writing. 

Jasmine Newton-Rae presents the classical texts held by the ICS library that date back to Shakespeare's time, while Sophia Benko writes about Shakespeare’s use – and lack thereof – of sources in his play Henry VIII

Read all the blogs here.

Shakespeare's First Folios: A 400-year journey

An upcoming exhibition at Senate House Library will trace the extraordinary journey of the First Folio since its publication in 1623, including how it was re-issued and published in different formats, and how the book became prized by collectors.

The exhibition will run from 21 November 2023 until 29 February 2024. One of the two First Folios held at Senate House Library will be on display on selected dates. 

Inaugural Lecture: Shakespeare’s First Folio and its World

On 23 November 2023, Professor Roland Greene, Director of the Stanford University Humanities Center, will deliver the inaugural lecture, addressing the topic of ‘Shakespeare’s First Folio and its World’.

The lecture will consider the First Folio as an event, not only in its immediate national context but from outside England and in light of its influence over the long term.

A reception will follow. Register here.

Find out more

Find out more about the programme of activities celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare's First Folio.

Shakespeare's First Folio at 400