‘Most important’ book in English literature goes on show at museum

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THE “most important” book in English literature is to go on display at a York museum.

Shakespeare’s First Folio will go on show at the Yorkshire Museum next month to coincide with the York Literature Festival in a loan deal with the Craven Museum and Gallery in Skipton.

At the time of the bard’s death in 1616, 18 of his plays were yet to be printed among them Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Tempest, existing merely as handwritten actors’ stage notes and Shakespeare’s own drafts.

But in 1623, a compilation of 
36 of his plays, including these, 
were published together in one volume.

It is unlikely that any of the plays would have survived without the Folio, which is why it has come to be regarded as the most important book in English literature.

Of the 750 copies originally printed, around 230 survive with fewer than 50 remaining in the British Isles.

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology, said: “The Skipton First Folio is one of only four copies worldwide that is on permanent display to the public and, taking over two years to print, it is believed that no two copies of the book are the 
same, which makes it even more special. We hope that the public will be as excited about its arrival as we are.”

The work will be on display from March 27 until July 15 in an exchange for the Yorkshire Museum’s recently acquired gold torcs found at Towton, near Tadcaster.

The Yorkshire Museum will be running a series of exciting events to celebrate the arrival of the Folio including an after-hours Shakespeare film night to be held in June at the museum.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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