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With apologies to The Beatles, I have noticed a trend lately among (I am presuming to be) fairly educated and sophisticated people on the ra...

30 May 2015

Nothing (Today or For a Few Centuries) Beats Paper and Ink for Preserving the Written Word

To publicize Andrea Mays's new book on Henry Folger and his obsession with collecting William Shakespeare's first folios (the first printing of one of his plays), NPR's Renee Montagne was able to visit the Folger Library in Washington, DC, and to touch (touch!) a few of the 82 of the surviving first folios.

One of the revelations which Andrea Mays's book highlights and again, in this interview piece, was that only about half of Shakespeare's plays had been published before his death and that if it hadn't been for this printed book (and why is this not considered having been published is a big question), the world after his death would not have known many of the plays which are quintessential Shakespeare (and quintessential English, in Lonnie Cain's perpective).

Let us take a moment to recall World Book Night USA, which had for three years been on 13 April, Shakespeare's birthdate.  The concept began in UK, where writers and publishers donated titles, printers donated paper and print time and readers donated time and nerve to walk up to light and non-readers to share the joy of reading a book. The not-for-profit effort closed down last year due to lack of funds.  We could have used some of Folger's.


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