Tragedy of Richard the Third


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Item#: 122855 price:$13,500.00

Tragedy of Richard the Third
Tragedy of Richard the Third
Tragedy of Richard the Third


SHAKESPEARE. The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field. [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. $13,500.

Sixteen original leaves from the rare and important Third Folio, containing the complete text of Shakespeare's historical drama, Richard III (with two leaves supplied from another copy of the same 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 Vv1-[Yy4] contain Richard III. This early historical drama, written circa 1591-92, depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and the short reign of King Richard III, bringing to a conclusion the tetralogy that comprises Henry VI, Parts 1-3, along with this play. "At the climax of the Wars of the Roses, Richard watches his brother ascend the throne of England and confides in the audience—with all the profound bitterness of an outcast born with a hunchback and malformed leg—his intention to seize the crown. Navigating an imposing assemblage of some of Shakespeare's greatest female characters, Richard lusts for power, assuring his own bloody rise and fall" (New York Times). Shakespeare's second-longest play after Hamlet, Richard III is often performed in an abridged or otherwise altered form; this excerpt of course includes the entire text. This popular play was printed separately several times in quarto format before its appearance in the First Folio of 1623. With facsimile frontispiece and title page; the facsimile title page reproduces the title page of the second issue of the Third Folio, bearing the date 1664 in the imprint rather than 1663. Final two leaves, Yy3-4, supplied from another copy of the same edition, slightly smaller than preceding leaves (It is not unusual for Shakespeare folios to have leaves supplied from other copies). See STC 22274; Jaggard, 496.

Minor marginal soiling, text generally clean; binding beautiful and fine.

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