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In Search of the First Folios
Published in 1623, the 750 copies of the first edition of William Shakespeare’s collected works, known as theFirst Folio, has been sought after relentlessly by kings, earls, and bibliophiles. In his effort to track down the extant 232 copies renowned Shakespeare scholar Eric Rasmussen and his team of First Folio hunters embarked on an incredible adventure around the world. This fast-paced narrative takes us from the court rooms of England to high-security vaults in the rare book rooms of Japan, encountering thieves, reclusive librarians, and eccentric billionaires along the way, all lusting for one of the world’s most valuable books. This fascinating account explores how manuscript hunters identify a book's past through distinguishing marks: a bullet hole, desecrated pages, and splashes of red that resemble blood; and how a book’s location and condition can reveal its story. Part literary detective story, part Shakespearean lore, The Shakespeare Thefts is a rare glimpse between the covers of one of the most coveted books in the world.
Rasmussen, Eric. Hardcover, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-230-34167-8. 240 pages, Includes 8 pp b/w photos.