Tragedie of Julius Caesar


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Item#: 122860 price:$14,500.00

Tragedie of Julius Caesar
Tragedie of Julius Caesar
Tragedie of Julius Caesar


SHAKESPEARE. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. [London: Printed for P.C., 1664]. Folio (9 by 12-3/4 inches), period-style full black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, red morocco spine label, marbled endpapers. $14,500.

The complete text of Shakespeare's great historical tragedy, Julius Caesar, from the rare and important Third Folio, on 11 original leaves (one leaf supplied from another copy of this edition). 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 [Mmm5]-Ooo3 contain the play Julius Caesar. "The Shakespearean exuberance or gusto is part of what breaks through linguistic and cultural barriers… Shakespeare is to the world's literature what Hamlet is to the imaginary domain of literary character: a spirit that permeates everywhere, that simply cannot be confined" (Bloom, The Western Canon, 52). Shakespeare is believed to have written Julius Caesar in 1599, drawing heavily from Thomas North's English translation of Plutarch's Lives. "Something extraordinary was beginning to happen as Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar in the spring of 1599… as if all his energies were self-consciously focused on a new and different kind of invention… The result was a significant breakthrough," richly expressed in "the extraordinary lines of Brutus, deep in thought, as he sets in motion one of the most consequential events in Western history. It's one of Shakespeare's first great soliloquies and conveys a sense of inwardness new to the stage" (Shapiro, Year in the Life, 134-35). The play also marked the first time the Bard drew on Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives (1579; reprinted 1595): "Shakespeare used portions of the lives of Caesar, Antony and Brutus and followed Plutarch very closely" (Bartlett, Mr. William Shakespeare, 47). The facsimile title page and frontispiece reproduces the title page of the second issue of the Third Folio, bearing the date 1664 in the imprint rather than 1663. One leaf, [Nnn6], supplied from another copy of this edition and slightly shorter. See STC 22274; Jaggard, 496.

A clean, wide-margined and splendidly bound copy in fine condition.

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