The Millionaire and the Bard

The Millionaire and the Bard

Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio

Book - 2015
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"Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession. When Shakespeare died in 1616 half of his plays died with him. No one--not even their author--believed that his writings would last, that he was a genius, or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published, and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language. Seven years later, in 1623, Shakespeare's business partners, companions, and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, gathered copies of the plays and manuscripts, edited and published thirty-six of them. This massive book, the First Folio, was intended as a memorial to their deceased friend. They could not have known that it would become one of the most important books ever published in the English language, nor that it would become a fetish object for collectors. The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men--a brilliant author and his obsessive collector--separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities--Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds--of art and commerce--that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare 'to the last syllable of recorded time'"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2015
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2015
ISBN: 9781439118252
Branch Call Number: 822.33 MAY 2015
Characteristics: 350 pages cm


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Jan 18, 2018

I would like to have learned more about the value of having many versions of the text to look at.

May 25, 2016

A bit dry especially through the middle but still a worthwhile read

PimaLib_WilliamB Feb 16, 2016

The author, Andrea Mays, will be presenting at the Tucson Festival of Books!

Nov 13, 2015

If you have visited Washington D.C., you may have noticed the beautifully designed Folger's Shakespeare Library near the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. I found the story of Henry Clay Folger an interesting one - and even liked the author's lengthy asides on how the First Folio came to be published and the methods used by printers of the time which guaranteed that no two copies are the same. Maybe it helps to be a bibliomaniac, but I really enjoyed reading this book.


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May 25, 2016

Interesting look at an obsession with Shakespeare and how the Folger library came to exist. it's a shame Folger passed before the place could be completed. Sometimes a dry read, but really picked up once the library itself was being discussed. I wish I could collect Folios like he did - though there are not many left in private collections anymore!


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May 25, 2016

"His was a selective and singular madness."


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