William Shakespeare, Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (First Folio ed. 1623)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  
[Created: 3 August, 2021]
[Updated: April 19, 2023 ]
The Guillaumin Collection
This title is part of “The Guillaumin Collection” within “The Digital Library of Liberty and Power”. It has been more richly coded and has some features which other titles in the library do not have, such as the original page numbers, formatting which makes it look as much like the original text as possible, and a citation tool which makes it possible for scholars to link to an individual paragraph which is of interest to them. These titles are also available in a variety of eBook formats for reading on portable devices.

William Shakespeare, Comedies, Histories, Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. (London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623).http://davidmhart.com/liberty/OtherWorks/Shakespeare/Plays/1623-FirstFolio/EnhancedHTMLversion/Shakespeare_FirstFolio1623.html


This book is part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).


Editor’s Note:

The collection known as the "First Folio" (1623) was edited by friends of Shakespeare after his death and were organised into three groups: Comedies (14), Histories (10), and Tragedies (12). A "Second Folio" edition appeared in 1632.

Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. (London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623).

Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression. (London: Printed by Thos. Cotes, for Robert Allot, and are to be sold at the sign of the Black Beare in Pauls Church-yard. 1632).

There are many facsimile copies of the First Folio online but few are ideal. Many have been poorly scanned with missing, skewed, faint, or distorted pages. I have tried to compile a “composite” PDF (in black and white) with the most readable pages from the best copies I have been able to find. [facs. PDF 79.5 MB]

The Library of Congress has a very nice facs. PDF in colour but it has the disadvantage of being a double page spread which makes it more difficult to read on a small screen. It is also quite large [facs. PDF 164.1 MB].

The German Württembergische Landesbibliothek also has a colour facs. PDF version which is a bit smaller than the LoC one [facs. PDFG 105.8 MB] but it is not as clearly scanned.

Early and mid-20th century facsimile published copies suffer from the technological problems of the day and the vagaries of modern scanning by Google Books. See the 1902 Oxford edition:

Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Being a Reproduction in Facsimile of the First Folio Edition 1623 from the Chatsworth copy in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, K.G. With Introduction and Census of Copies by Sidney Lee (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902).

The Gutenberg Project has made an HTML version] of the First Folio edition but it has been “minimally” coded. Several university libraries have online versions available but I have found them to be poorly designed and not user friendly. See for example the University of Pennsylvania “The Horace Howard Furness Shakespeare Library” and the Oxford University Text Archive. The version here is based upon these two versions, but modified and coded for my purposes.

My first attempt at putting this work online was in August 2021 resulted in a “bare bones” coded and formatted text, as well as a “Parallel Edition” of the text with images from the Württembergische Landesbibliothek edition of the Folio on the left, and very plain HTML from Project Gutenberg on the right.

I have also used the following:

  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916). [HTML] and [facs. PDF 126.3 MB].
  • Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. A facsimile edition prepared by Helge Kökeritz. With an Introduction by Charles Tyler Prouty (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954).



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