SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616)
The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field
London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, 1632. Folio. (12 1/8 x 8 1/2 inches). 173-204pp.
Expertly bound to style in panelled calf, covers tooled in blind, upper cover lettered in gilt
Second Folio edition of Shakespeare's 'Richard III,' the memorable play that presents a masterful portrayal of ambition, deceit, and betrayal, as Richard's ruthless pursuit of power leads him down a path of destruction, culminating in a dramatic and tragic finale.
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. "Richard III," one of Shakespeare's longest works, follows the rise and fall of King Richard III before and during his short reign, centering on the king's ruthless and bloody transformation from Duke of Gloucester to King. This tale of manipulation and deceit explores the motives and conflicts behind Richard's pursuit of an all-encompassing power. 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 Genius 36.