Creating Shakespeare's First Folio

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 47

We likely wouldn’t have half of Shakespeare’s plays without the First Folio of 1623. Imagine a world without Macbeth, Twelfth Night, or Julius Caesar. Our guest on this episode of Shakespeare Unlimited is Emma Smith, a professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford and the author of The Making of the First Folio. She authenticated the First Folio that was recently discovered in Scotland.

In her book, she offers an intimate, step-by-step examination of how the First Folio was conceived, how Shakespeare’s plays were gathered, how the rights for them were obtained, how the book was laid out, and – most vividly – how it was assembled and printed. Emma Smith is interviewed by Neva Grant.

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From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. © May 3, 2016. Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “This Precious Book,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. We had help from Nick Moorbath at Evolution Studios in Oxford and from the News Operations Staff at NPR in Washington, DC.