"IF WE SHADOWS HAVE OFFENDED": SHAKESPEARE'S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, EXTRACTED FROM THE THIRD FOLIO, 1664, SPLENDIDLY BOUND
SHAKESPEARE. A Midsommer Nights Dreame. [London: Printed for P.C., 1664]. Folio (9 by 12-3/4 inches), period-style full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, black morocco spine label, marbled endpapers; pp. 145-62. $19,500.
Nine original leaves from the rare and important Third Folio, containing the complete text of Shakespeare's festive, fantasy-filled comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Splendidly bound in elaborately gilt-decorated period-style morocco.
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 1664 second issue of the Third Folio (from which this play was taken), is the first to include Pericles (along with six other spurious plays) and is therefore the first complete edition of Shakespeare's plays. The Third Folio is believed to be the scarcest of the four great 17th-century folio editions, a large part of the edition presumed destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666. "The folios are incomparably the most important work in the English language" (W.A. Jackson, Pforzheimer Catalogue).
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). With facsimile title page and frontispiece portrait, the facsimile title page reproduces the title page and frontis of the second issue of the Third Folio, bearing the date 1664 in the imprint rather than 1663.
See Jaggard, 496.
A splendidly bound volume in fine condition.