The Folio’s the Thing
By Craig Brandhorst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-3681
Imagine a world without Shakespeare. It’s perhaps harder than you think.
In addition to the plays themselves — the characters, the plots, the themes and motifs — we’d lose dozens of familiar phrases such as “In my mind’s eye,” “In my heart of hearts,” “Heart of gold” and “Forgone conclusion.”
We’d also lose more than 1,700 words either coined, popularized or repurposed by the Bard, words like “fashionable” and “excitement,” “silliness” and “zany,” not to mention compound adjectives like “well-educated,” “well-bred” and, yes, “well-read.” The word “countless” comes to mind — once again, thanks to Shakespeare.
Now, you can be reminded all over again of the Bard’s immeasurable influence on our culture, language and the arts when the traveling exhibition “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” comes to the University of South Carolina courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
“First Folio!” and a companion exhibit, “Much Ado About Shakespeare,” featuring additional items drawn from University Libraries collections, open April 14 at the university’s Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library and will be on display through April 30.
Comprising 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, 18 of which had previously not been published, the First Folio was compiled seven year’s after Shakespeare’s death by fellow actors wanting to secure his legacy. Originally titled “Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies,” it represents the first comprehensive collection of Shakespeare’s work.
“This is an opportunity for every citizen of South Carolina to experience firsthand this wonderful and magnificent book,” says Elizabeth Sudduth, director of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Carolina. “We are also excited about the prospect of mounting a major exhibition drawing on our holdings of material by and about Shakespeare, his life and time.”
Additional events, including productions of Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest” (April 15-23, Drayton Hall), and “The Gravedigger’s Tale,” a one-man play based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” by associate professor of theatre Robert Richmond (April 21-23, Longstreet Theatre), will add to the excitement.
This is an opportunity for every citizen of South Carolina to experience firsthand this wonderful and magnificent book.
Elizabeth Sudduth, director of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
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