"FOR NEVER WAS A STORY OF MORE WOE THAN THIS OF JULIET AND HER ROMEO": SHAKESPEARE'S IMMORTAL TRAGEDY ROMEO AND JULIET, EXTRACTED FROM THE THIRD FOLIO, 1664, SPLENDIDLY BOUND
SHAKESPEARE. The Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet. [London: Printed by 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.641-664. $18,500.
The complete text of Shakespeare's first tragedy and one of his greatest plays, Romeo and Juliet, from the rare and important Third Folio, on 13 original leaves. 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 [Hhh5]-[Kkk5] contain the play Romeo and Juliet. "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). "To more effective account did Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet (his first tragedy) turn a tragic romance of Italian origin, which was already popular in the English versions of Arthur Broke in verse (1562) and William Painter in prose (in his 'Palace of Pleasure,' 1567). Shakespeare made little change in the plot, but he impregnated it with poetic fervor, and relieved the tragic intensity by developing the humor of Mercutio, and by grafting on the story the new comic character of the Nurse. The fineness of insight which Shakespeare here brought to the portrayal of youthful emotion is as noticeable as the lyric beauty and exuberance of the language" (DNB). The facsimile title page and frontispiece reproduce these pages of the second issue of the Third Folio, bearing the date 1664 in the imprint rather than 1663. See STC 22274; Jaggard, 496.
A clean, wide-margined copy, beautifully bound.