First Folio no. 233 discovered

rare books, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Gutenberg Bible, great discoveries, libraries, The Bard

What a kicker as we begin to close out 2014 – William Shakespeare’s First Folio number 233 discovered! Play that number.

Please take me to this small library, Saint-Omer, near Calais, France. They have one of only 50 surviving Gutenberg Bibles, and now one of Shakespeare’s First Folios. It hardly matters what other rarities are in their collection.

rare books, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Gutenberg Bible, great discoveries, libraries, The Bard

And now the speculation begins given the provenance of the new Shakespearean discovery. Was the playwright secretly a Catholic? The issue has been fueled. Let the experts debate anew.

Regarding the condition of no. 233, The New York Times reports:

Eric Rasmussen, an American Shakespeare expert who traveled to France over the weekend to authenticate the volume, stated, “First folios don’t turn up very often, and when they do, it’s usually a really chewed up, uninteresting copy. But this one is magnificent.”

Magnificent indeed.

Photos: First Folio borrowed from The York Press; Gutenberg Bible by NYC Wanderer used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0

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