"IF WE SHADOWS HAVE OFFENDED": SHAKESPEARE'S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, EXTRACTED FROM THE SECOND FOLIO, 1632
SHAKESPEARE. A Midsommer Nights Dreame. [London: Tho. Cotes for Robert Allot, 1632]. Folio (8-1/2 by 12-1/4 inches), modern full brown paneled calf, raised bands; pp. 145-62. $11,500.
Nine original leaves from the rare and important Second Folio, containing the complete text of Shakespeare's festive, fantasy-filled comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, handsomely bound by Bernard Middleton.
The four folios of Shakespeare are the first four editions of Shakespeare's collected plays. These were the only collected editions printed in the 17th century (a 1619 attempt at a collected edition in quarto form was never completed). The Second Folio, like the First Folio of 1623, contains 36 plays, all the plays that are considered to be wholly or in part by Shakespeare (with the exception of Pericles, which was added to the Third Folio edition of 1663). "The folios are incomparably the most important work in the English language" (W.A. Jackson, Pforzheimer Catalogue).
A new group of investors published the Second Folio collection of Shakespeare's plays, which, with some changes (intentional and otherwise), largely reprinted the First Folio (1623) page for page. It is estimated that no more than 1000 copies of the Second Folio were printed. Leaves N-O3 contain A Midsummer Night's Dream. Likely written in 1595-96, A Midsummer Night's Dream "is a labyrinth, in which we are delighted to be lost… The Dream remains an unique literary work, with a highly individual place within the Shakespeare canon… Whose dream is it? Partly Bottom's, partly ours… Nothing in literature is so exquisitely sustained as this is. Had Shakespeare written only this superb marriage-song, his greatness would have been established forever after" (Bloom, xi-xii). See Jaggard, 496.
Only a few stains to text, binding exceptionally lovely.