3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Eric Rasmussen is, undeniably, an internationally renowned authority on Renaissance drama. He has an impressive portfolio of editions of plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare behind him. In this book, he is writing about an aspect of Shakespeare studies that is focused on the physical remains of the first edition of his collected works, known as the First Folio of 1623, and on the occasionally colourful histories of several individual copies. Rasmussen and his team have spent several years scrutinising almost every surviving Folio, duly recording them in minute, painstakingly obsessive detail.
This is a book that is aimed at a wider audience than its narrow specialism might warrant (otherwise, we would expect it to have appeared under a scholarly imprint, been published in hardback and priced beyond the range of most pockets). But although some of the stories of theft in these pages may have a wide appeal, and although Rasmussen's tone is admirably accessible throughout (even though 'amazing' and 'wow' may perhaps sound a touch too popularising), it seems unlikely that this book will find huge success. Or, indeed, that it (like the Folio) will undergo four editions, with the first being so sought-after.
I enjoyed reading about Ben Jonson's eyelash, and about Jacobean printing-house procedures. Even so, it's difficult to resist the conclusion that this is a book that is essentially, if not exclusively, a book for bibliophiles and collectors.