SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616)
The Tragedie of King Lear ... [Bound with:] The Tragedy of Othello ... [and with:] The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra
London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, 1632. Folio. (12 1/8 x 8 1/2 inches). 303-329; 330-359; 360-388pp.
Expertly bound to style in panelled calf, covers tooled in blind, upper cover lettered in gilt
From Shakespeare's Second Folio.
Shakespeare's famed four folios comprise the first four editions of his collected plays, all printed in the 17th century. The Second Folio of 1632, like the First Folio of 1623, contains 36 plays. It is estimated that fewer than 1000 copies of the Second Folio were printed and fewer than 200 copies are in existence today. "King Lear" tells the story of an aging King who plans to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. After asking each to prove their love for him, and receiving a flattering (but insincere) response from two of them, he banishes the third, who truly loved him but failed to prove it. After his two daughters proceed to disrespect him after receiving his wealth and power, he descends into madness. The play is bound with two additional plays: "Othello," centered on the antagonistic relationship between a Moorish general and his officer, Iago, and "Anthony and Cleopatra," centered on the romantic relationship between Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, and Marc Antony, one of the Triumvirs of Rome. The Shakespeare Folios have "an aura of book magic about them. For a bibliophile it is a volume devoutly to be wished for and rarely attained; to a library it is a crowning jewel of a collection. Shakespeare, indeed, is a name to conjure with. No lengthy explanations are needed; he is simply the most distinguished author in the English language" (Wolf).
STC 22274a. Pforzheimer 906. Greg III, 1113-1116. Jaggard, 496; Wolf, Legacies of Genuis 36.