The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0334 Monday, 13 August 2012
Date: August 3, 2012 4:12:51 PM EDT
Subject: Digitizing Shakespeare
One of the enthusiastic people who has taken a couple of Shakespeare courses with me forwarded the following announcement. I don’t know where she came across it.
An Effort to Put First Edition of Shakespeare Online
A campaign is under way to digitize and make available online the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, known as the First Folio.
A cadre of celebrities – including the actors Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Fry and the theater director Peter Hall – are championing the fund-raising effort by the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, “Sprint for Shakespeare,” which started this week. The campaign aims to raise £20,000 (about $31,000) through private contributions.
Once online, the folio will be available free, accompanied by articles and blogs from academics, other specialists, theater professionals and the public.
While copies of the book are not uncommon, the Bodleian’s First Folio is rare because it has not been rebound or restored in the almost four centuries since it first entered the library late in 1623. Its marks reveal the tastes of early readers; the pages of “Romeo and Juliet” are worn almost to shreds, while “King John” is virtually pristine. The volume, which was apparently sold by the library in the 1660’s, returned after a public fund-raising campaign at the turn of the 20th century to buy it from the family that owned it.
Oxford will be marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.
“The Shakespeare First Folio is the most important secular book in the history of the western world,” said Jonathan Bate, a Shakespeare scholar at Oxford. “The digitization of the Bodleian copy, with its strange and eventful history, is a great project.”