LE: Shakespeare - The Complete Plays coming in September

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LE: Shakespeare - The Complete Plays coming in September

mar 5, 5:18 am

Just received an email from FS advertising the above mentioned LE coming this September, with a link where you can sign up to "follow the story of its creation."


"Limited to 1,000 numbered sets, each is meticulously hand-crafted by dedicated experts as passionate about bookmaking as we are. The elegant bindings will be created using techniques established in the time of the playwright, the exquisite illustrations are by Neil Packer, an acknowledged master of the art, and the set will be presented in a box of remarkable design."

Interesting strategy, has FS ever done something like this for a Limited Edition release before? It's definitely a departure from their normal method of just surprise dropping their LEs without notice.

mar 5, 5:25 am

The illustrations look great! However, I’m not so sure about the bindings the books are in. I guess time will tell!

mar 5, 5:44 am

Packer's style isn't necessarily one I naturally gravitate towards but I found I enjoy his work when he's doing smaller motifs as page headers as in Divine Comedy rather than full page illustrations like One Hundred Years or the two Eco books. From Folios email it looks like it'll follow the Divine Comedy which is already tempting me. I am a tad apprehensive though about the price of the complete set of plays.

mar 5, 5:53 am

>2 DMulvee: Were there photos of the bindings?

mar 5, 5:53 am

>3 wongie: I was assuming it was three volumes containing all the plays, as three books are shown and it mentions them “presented in a box”

mar 5, 5:55 am

>4 What_What: If you click on the link in the first comment, then just under the quote from Tom Walker it shows three books, and I was guessing that was the binding? I might be mistaken though

mar 5, 6:19 am

From their spines, the three volumes look indeed as Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories.

mar 5, 8:01 am

Have they confirmed whether this is a letterpress production?

mar 5, 8:11 am

>8 EdmundRodriguez: Not from what I can see, but I highly doubt it judging by how poorly the last letterpress Shakespeare series sold. Especially for sets like this eg Divine Comedy, Gormenghast and Book of the New Sun, it seems more economical for FS to go offset printing and focus on their strength which is in design rather than printwork and which seems to give them a much better return.

Redigerat: mar 5, 8:48 am

>6 DMulvee: Ah yes, of course, it was right there, my apologies.

The FT article had this to say last year:

“Next year, Folio will release a 400th-anniversary edition of the complete plays of Shakespeare, and each of the covers for Comedies, Tragedies and Histories will be crafted using intricate Tudor blackwork embroidery (originally used to decorate ruffs) produced by a small artisan silk mill in Suffolk.

The three embroidery designs are by Neil Packer, who recently spent two years illustrating Folio’s three-volume edition of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, drawing on influences from ’30s woodblocks to 18th-century steelpoint engravings and north African designs.”

I’m not really a fan of it, and wonder to what extent collectors will prefer the Letterpress Shakespeare volumes, though of course it takes a lot more than three volumes to collect all of the works.

mar 5, 10:06 am

mar 5, 10:13 am

Having bought The Divine Comedy LE and now seeing these designs, I'm already sold. Here's to September!

Redigerat: mar 5, 10:54 am

Looks very promising, has the price been mentioned, yet?

mar 5, 10:34 am

>10 What_What: Speaking for myself, this is exactly what I was hoping for after seeing the FT article. The letterpress being hopelessly out of reach, I wanted a nice set to replace my Everyman's editions and this seems targeted right at my consumer demographic (people willing to spend some but not ALL of their disposable income on pretty books).

That being said, three volumes seems a bit crammed to me but I shudder to think of the cost of a set spread over six or eight.

Overall, I am very excited for this LE!

mar 5, 11:14 am

>14 L.Bloom: ...three volumes seems a bit crammed to me...

Yes - I'm curious as to what the page size will be, and for that matter the thickness of the paper. The New Nonesuch Tragedies volume isn't too bad as to readability or wieldiness but runs to almost 1500 pages: admittedly it includes two complete versions of two of the plays, and two more plays whose attribution is doubtful at best. I'll be interested to see what they produce, but there's zero chance of my being a purchaser: interested too as to whether a standard edition follows.

mar 5, 11:56 am

>15 terebinth: "interested too as to whether a standard edition follows."

Same. The fact there is not a standard FS Shakespeare set continuously in print is strange. Honestly I'd be happy if they brought those Oxfords back, even those are going for large sums on the secondary market.

mar 5, 12:04 pm

I'm also looking forward to the US and ROTW markup! I'm sure this will be an expensive set, and the exchange rate will make it even more special!

Redigerat: mar 5, 12:17 pm

I'm still waiting on the Divine Comedy SE with the Packer illustrations.

mar 5, 12:25 pm

not so sure about the binding design. initial impression is gaudy. maybe it will grow on me though.

mar 5, 1:04 pm

Does look like an interesting set, with the mixture of modern and period aesthetics. Not entirely sold on the wraps, but they might work better in person. The price is what will decide this for me.

mar 5, 2:16 pm

Publishing the Complete Shakespeare is always a difficult task in terms of how many volumes are needed. I think the sweet spot is the eight volume set published by Folio a few decades ago. If one were to read Shakespeare's plays I would find it both unpleasant and unenjoyable to read cramped massive volumes separated by Histories, Tragedies and Comedies - the only worse alternative being one massive volume. I have the complete Letterpress Shakespeare and it is bar none my favorite Folio production and would get rid of every other Folio LE before I got rid of this set. It is the perfect and most enjoyable reading experience along with the helpful companion volumes. The only downside being the massive amount of space the books take up and it took me over two years to find a price that I was willing to pay.

I would consider this Limited Edition if Folio broke up the plays and this edition would contain either histories, tragedies or comedies; publishing two more limited editions the following years. Nine volumes would be perfect and look amazing on any collector's shelf. I would even prefer if they published his most popular works in these three volumes instead of his entire ovure. If Letterpress Shakespeare is unobtainable there are also wonderful options of Easton Press or LEC and this limited edition would be an incredibly expensive wall decoration.

mar 5, 2:31 pm

>21 Joshbooks1: ...this limited edition would be an incredibly expensive wall decoration...

Yes, that's my view as I shrug and turn aside: all my likely reading purposes are covered by the LEC Shakespeare (which I greatly prefer to the Letterpress because of its text), C.H.Herford's 1899 edition in ten volumes, the New Nonesuch in four (one for the poems), and an old Oxford Standard Authors volume for portability at the cost of eyestrain.

mar 5, 3:39 pm

I already have the LEC shakespeare so I'll probably pass unless those bindings turn out to be something stunning.

Redigerat: mar 6, 7:00 am

It’s always nice to see Shakespeare printed! I’ll stick to my LEC letterpress set, first Folio FS LE, Heritage Press three-volume set and 50s Oxford University India paper travel volume. The LEC hit my sweet spot at a fraction of the cost of the FS letterpress set, but if I were more cost-conscious I would have settled for the Heritage Press set or the Nonesuch Coronation set (both of which I think are/were letterpress). If I were outlandishly wealthy I’d pick up the full FS letterpress set over this. I’ll be very interested to see the price - 750 GBP for all three would be a pleasant surprise.

mar 5, 6:49 pm

>8 EdmundRodriguez: As others have noted this will almost certainly not be letterpress. >9 wongie: true, they did not sell well. They also were produced in a limitation of 3750. Also, at $500 per volume, that amounts to at least an $18,000 investment. Most people, even avid bibliophiles are not not going to be able to drop that kind of money. This edition is limited to 1000 copies. If it were letterpress, even at $1000 per volume, for a total of $3000, it would be far more palatable than their previous letterpress editions, which I believe also had NO illustrations -- just another reason they did not sell well.

mar 7, 12:18 am

The 7-volume set from the Nonesuch Press (1923-1933) remains my gold standard for the complete Shakespeare plays. Bindings in full tan niger morocco, flawless letterpress printing on an exceptional paper and outstanding scholarship- very difficult to beat. With a bit of luck this set can be acquired at auction for a very reasonable price.

mar 7, 3:07 am

I'm with the Oracle >26 dlphcoracl: I suspect that for not very much more than the new Folio LE you could get the Nonesuch set, which is a highlight of their output and an important example of 20th century private press publishing. It's hard to imagine that 100 years hence people will be talking about the new FS LE in the same terms

Those on a tighter budget might also consider the Folio Society "rainbow" Shakespeare volumes. Printed letterpress in two colours, fully illustrated, and less than £200 for a full set.

mar 7, 3:34 am

>27 ubiquitousuk:
True, the rainbow set is lovely!

mar 7, 8:25 am

>26 dlphcoracl: Do you have some favorite auction sites you can recommend? I've never purchased books outside the typical e-commerce channels.

This set interests me but at the likely $1,000+ USD this will cost, I'd just as soon reach for something better for a few hundred more.

mar 7, 8:29 am

>26 dlphcoracl: Sounds like an amazing set, and I've seen it mentioned many times in discussions on the definitive Shakespeare works.

It's not exactly a great alternative for the masses though is it, if you have to wait for an auction, and compete with other bibliophiles? And is it usually in the $1,200-1,500 range, when it does appear?

mar 7, 9:03 am

>26 dlphcoracl: I can see a copy at £1750 but the leather isn’t a uniform colour. If I want a uniform colour it looks like it is just over £4200. How essential do you consider the leather to be a matching colour?

mar 7, 9:35 am

>30 What_What:
Well, if we’re waiting for in stock/print letterpress-printed Shakespeare at a reasonable price we’ll be waiting for a long time…

Redigerat: mar 7, 10:12 am

>31 DMulvee: did you search on ViaLibri? I don't know what standard of uniformity you are aiming for, but I see fairly uniform looking copies for much less than £4k.

There are several Nonesuch editions from the same period and with the same kind of binding, and my experience has been that non-uniformity of the leather as well as the emergence of natural blemishing in these editions is quite common. I am therefore inclined to view it as part of the aged beauty of these books, but other might be more choosy.

mar 7, 10:13 am

>32 GusLogan: My point is, it's not exactly realistic an option is it really, and what is the price multiple?

It's a bit like saying "don't buy this SUV today, what you really want is this truck that costs three times as much and has a 3-year wait list due to the chip shortage."

mar 7, 10:20 am

>33 ubiquitousuk: I'm looking at sets in good condition. I see one at £1750 but the leather colour is not uniform amongst the different volumes:


Most versions I see are like to this to an extent. I can see one copy that looks identical, but that is priced at over £4k:

mar 7, 10:42 am

>34 What_What: I think what they're getting at is for the price point FS is likely to charge for this set, you could get a truly special set for a few hundred (or a few thousand, depending on condition) more.

I'm inclined to agree unless there is something we haven't seen yet about this new FS set that will set it apart. Likely it will just be an overly elaborate box with drawers/levers/pulleys/flashing lights etc. Maybe they will come in an origami model of the Globe Theatre or some such.

Redigerat: mar 7, 10:52 am

>29 L.Bloom: The PBA Galleries auctions (Oakland/SF, California) are exceptionally user-friendly and they are quite responsive to questions, requests for photos, etc. I would start with one of their auctions.

>30 What_What: The Nonesuch Shakespeare 7-volume set appears 2-3 x per year at auction, typically in the United Kingdom. Note that this was published in an edition of 1600 copies, somewhat astonishing for a letterpress set of this quality, which is why it appears at auction with some degree of frequency. The LEC this isn't!! Most important, this set does not usually sell all that well at auction and including Buyer's Premium it will usually cost between $1400 - $1800. However, this set is in an entirely different league than the forthcoming FS Limited Edition.

>31 DMulvee:
>35 DMulvee:
There is ALWAYS some degree of variation in the shades of tan leather with this set, i.e., I have never seen a set with perfectly uniform bindings. What you want to do (or should do) is strike a happy medium by avoiding sets in which there is considerable variation in the bindings appearance. If you look for a set at auction in which the bindings are reasonably uniform in shading or colour and does not have drying, spotting or staining of the book spines (commonly seen in this set), it should sell in the $1500 - $1800 range at auction. A set with reasonably uniform bindings will typically sell for between $2,500 to $3,000 from booksellers, i.e., twice what you would pay at auction.

>36 L.Bloom: That is EXACTLY what I was getting at.

Later today, I will post a set of photos of my Nonesuch Complete Shakespeare set to illustrate how different this is from an FS Limited Edition.

Redigerat: mar 7, 12:05 pm

>34 What_What:
Sure, point taken, but I lean towards the point L.Bloom makes above while also being of the opinion that there are some very nice modest Shakespeare options mentioned above available for _much_ less than Folio is likely to charge for this. I guess some folks will prefer the midpoint, but someone picked up the LEC letterpress Shakespeare including poems, 39 separate volumes designed by Bruce Rogers, for 250 bucks just recently. I just don’t think Folio can top that. 500-800 is a more common good price for a VG set. I paid over 1 000 and have no regrets - though I’ll admit to also coveting the Nonesuch leatherfest! But of course this is not an alternative hundreds or even dozens of us can go for simultaneously, either!

mar 7, 12:20 pm

Is the four-volume version from Nonesuch any good? I'm seeing it at decent prices. They do emphasis that the paper is very thin but still opaque. Still, I imagine it's either an eyestrain festival or uncomfortably heavy. Happy to be wrong regardless.

Redigerat: mar 7, 5:04 pm

>39 Shadekeep:
Here’s a thread, brief but with some points of interest (he wrote, modestly):


My takeaway is that it isn’t a shrunken (photographic) reproduction of the seven-volume set, but its own thing, though using the same carefully researched text (which was the basis for the LEC version, too). It could be letterpress, I guess, given the date, but then again it might not be… Edit: I’ll take dlphcoracl’s word for it that they’re not letterpress!

mar 7, 12:52 pm

>40 GusLogan: Thanks kindly, that's useful information indeed.

mar 7, 1:47 pm

On the topic of affordable sets, does anyone have anything to say about the Heritage Press set? I saw, for example, that the tragedies are illustrated by Agnes Miller-Parker and the histories by John Farleigh. On the face of it, this seems like a big selling point.

mar 7, 4:30 pm

>40 GusLogan:

GusLogan is correct in that this 4-volume set, known as either the New Nonesuch Shakespeare or the "Coronation Shakespeare" shares the same text, scholarship and careful editorial work. However, that is ALL it shares with the 7-volume edition from 1929. I repeat - the Coronation Shakespeare is a trade edition and it is not printed letterpress. If you check the prices the Coronation Shakespeare typically sells for ($70 - $300), that should be quite obvious. There is no comparison in quality of these two editions.

Redigerat: mar 7, 5:08 pm

>42 ubiquitousuk:
I think they’re an excellent (super-)budget-conscious choice, but they are further from the LEC set in quality than many other HP publications, so not really competing in the same league as a FS LE. I honestly can’t tell if mine are printed letterpress, I guess by 1958 probably not (if dlphcoracl says the Coronation Nonesuch isn’t), though they’re NY Heritage Press which is always better than later incarnations (as you know better than me). There are basically two wood engravings per play, many rather nice but not really worth acquiring the set for on their own in my opinion. I like AMP almost as much as you do but I don’t think this is her best work. They do NOT use the Farjeon Nonesuch text/scholarship that was also used by the LEC, but are based on the Collins Tudor Shakespeare, about which I know nothing. They take up little room but I don’t find the text small or cramped. The spines are often sunned or stained, but certainly without transatlantic shipping the books are cheap as chips - though I guess you would be shipping them across the pond given your username. I’m pleased to have them around as reading copies.

And while I’m responding to you, Ubiq - I’m delighted to say I ordered a 3/4 leather custom rebind of Into the Woods for a song after reading your review and repeated praises in various threads. Thank you for enabling me, I look forward to reading it!

Redigerat: mar 7, 5:03 pm

The Works of Shakespeare. The Text of the First Folio with Quarto Variants, Nonesuch Press, 1929-1933 (7 volumes). Printed by Walter Lewis at the Cambridge University Press on mould-made Pannekoek paper, bound in full tan niger morocco. Set in Monotype Fournier type.

Collector's notes: In retrospect, this is a mediocre set with regard to condition. There is more variation in the shading and color of the niger morocco bindings than you will see from fine booksellers offering sets in the $2500 - $4000 range. The tradeoff is that my set if relatively free from the soiling and staining of the morocco bindings often seen in these sets (note: Good gawd! What do people DO with their books??).

mar 7, 6:52 pm

>27 ubiquitousuk: I'd love to know where you can purchase a set for £200?
I've only seen individual volumes, and they tend to be $25-50 each. So if you're paying an average of $35 per volume, you're looking at around $1300. I suspect that's about the price point of the forthcoming limited edition. That said, of course being printed letterpress makes all the difference! and again, where can I find a set at anywhere near your price point?

mar 7, 9:31 pm

>45 dlphcoracl: What a delight! Thank you for sharing these.

Redigerat: mar 9, 4:01 am

Sorry folks, but I think the ultimate edition of all Shakespeare's works is the 39 volume Folio Society limited edition, where the play is beautifully bound in half leather and marbled boards, unsullied by illustrations and letterpress printed, while an extensive commentary and notes are in a small separate volume. Certainly expensive, but superb.

mar 8, 1:41 am

>48 wcarter: I think an issue with that is space. I like solander cases, but the full set is a vast expanse

Redigerat: mar 8, 2:03 am

>49 DMulvee:
I keep the letterpress volumes on my library shelf and the solander cases with the commentaries in a cupboard. They look great on the shelf.

Redigerat: mar 8, 3:21 am

>50 wcarter: I think that looks fantastic!

I had considered buying the FS series but the cases take up too much room. I’m not sure if I stored them elsewhere they wouldn’t get damaged.

mar 8, 4:30 am

>44 GusLogan: Thanks for the most informative comments on the HP set. Great news about Through the Woods, I hope you like it as much as I do. And perhaps you'll consider sharing a picture of that custom binding?

>45 dlphcoracl: Marvellous!

>46 astropi: I'm not sure if we're talking about the same set (this one)? Part of the difference may be that I am in the UK where the books are readily available. Individual volumes typically sell for £5-15 here. But there's usually a discount for a full set when they occasionally show up. My set cost £150 about two years ago. I can't see any recently completed full sets on eBay for comparison but this seller recently sold half the set for £125. This seller (no affiliation) has 30 of them for £300, but I think one could do better with a bit of patience.

>48 wcarter: I heartily agree! But it seems like, after a period of decline, secondary market prices for the Letterpress Shakespeare are now on the up again. I lost hope of ever getting much further than the dozen or so that I have.

mar 8, 9:27 am

>46 astropi: >52 ubiquitousuk:

Acquired my rainbow set on ebay about two years ago - £100 - limited edition binding of white vegetable parchment in six cloth-covered slip cases, somewhat fortunate, but crops up now and again never more than £250, I think, and excellent value at that.

mar 8, 10:25 am

I agree with Warwick, however; Shakespeare or fiction in general aside of folk tales, is not my love. I would prefer a few condensed volumes rather than letting ole Will splay out. The Nonesuch is a good compromise but without a stellar deal I wouldn't bite. The many Folio options are quite sufficient for someone like me, even so, I've stuck with my singular Oxford and Random House versions so long, I might just wait for this LE to get SE treatment.

Redigerat: mar 8, 2:09 pm

This LE looks pretty, but I'm absolutely not interested in big, cumbersome volumes each holding multiple plays. You'd have to go a long way to beat the pleasure of reading Shakespeare in the Folio Society's original editions, first released in 1950 with the last volume published in 1979, presenting all Shakespeare's plays in 37 individual volumes with great introductions commissioned by F.S. from Shakespearean actors of the day, bound in full cloth, printed letterpress in two colours, with full colour illustrations by different artists ('As You Like It', by Salvador Dalí), and a perfect reading size. The full set looks magnificent on the shelf in its full rainbow colours. It's incredible that you can buy this set on abebooks in fine condition for only a few hundred pounds. If Folio published the same set today to the same standards, the price for all 37 volumes would be well over £1,500.

For anyone not interested in the whole set, but only interested in Shakespeare's most popular plays, the Folio first editions of these were published in dustjackets from 1950-1956, most of which are spectacular, though they've become notably more expensive on the secondary market since Conte Mosca treated us to his fabulous 'Folio: The Early Years' reviews!

mar 8, 2:48 pm

>55 cronshaw: ...37 individual volumes with great introductions commissioned by F.S. from Shakespearean actors of the day,...

Yes - Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson,......

Charles Ede put every one of those introductions into one volume Introductions to Shakespeare; Folio Society 1977, together with a dozen illustrations of costume designs 'selected from the many reproduced in the complete Folio Society Shakespeare, which in itself represents the work of 35 modern stage designers.' Letterpress and about £10 to £15 on the secondary market.

mar 8, 2:50 pm

>56 bookfair_e: Thanks, I'd completely forgotten that volume, another bargain!

mar 8, 3:40 pm

>55 cronshaw: You'd have to go a long way to beat the pleasure of reading Shakespeare in the Folio Society's original editions, first released in 1950 with the last volume published in 1979, presenting all Shakespeare's plays in 37 individual volumes with great introductions commissioned by F.S. from Shakespearean actors of the day, bound in full cloth, printed letterpress in two colours, with full colour illustrations by different artists ('As You Like It', by Salvador Dalí), and a perfect reading size.

Totally agree, Russell. I treasure my 'rainbow set' for all the reasons you have mentioned and have never been tempted to replace it. The perfect reading size is also perfect for taking to the theatre if you like to have the text with you while watching a play.

My one exception is that I have three volumes from the Letterpress Shakespeare series as 'samples'. one of each colour (red, green, blue). They're beautiful productions but way too big for shelving and quite a handful to read.

A definite 'no' to the LE. Combining multiple plays into a single volume has never worked for me, even assuming they get the paper thick enough and opaque.

mar 8, 3:43 pm

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

mar 8, 4:12 pm

>58 folio_books: I don't mind terribly having multiple plays per book. My current Shakespeare (Everyman's Library) contains multiple plays in each volume BUT it's spread over 7. The real issue to my mind is going to be the price point. If they want to cram everything into 3 volumes I would hope it's as a cost saving measure. However, judging by recent FS history, even if there is a cost savings it will not make it's way to the consumer. They will attempt to have their cake and eat it too I suspect.

I'd like to se this set at $500-$600 but judging by Dante it's not looking good.

mar 8, 5:52 pm

>60 L.Bloom: I would be floored if they offered the set at $500-600. I suspect it will be $1500.

mar 8, 8:43 pm

>58 folio_books: I also love my rainbow set, which I acquired on Ebay for around £100 a few years ago. Some of the spines are a little faded, but I can live with that - as a set they still look lovely together. I agree that they are the perfect size to read - my four year old son and I have recently dipped into A Midsummer Night's Dream together, which wouldn't be very practical with a heavier combined set. That Nonesuch edition is very tempting though...

mar 9, 1:35 am

>62 DZWB: I am also a fan of the
‘rainbow’ series, although I must have paid a fair bit more than £100 as I wanted to build a set with consistent slipcases and minimal shading on the spines (to maximise the rainbow effect). The spine of ‘the comedy of errors’ seems much more vulnerable to fading than all the other editions (visible on the copies for sale on eBay) This seemed odd as several of the other seem to have similarly-coloured covers and don’t have the same problem. I finally found an unfaded copy and now have a full spectrum. I’m not going to pretend that I have read all of them, but one day …

Redigerat: mar 16, 2:31 pm

>52 ubiquitousuk:

Despite valiant efforts to follow instructions I am unable to embed images here, but I think you will be able to view them on my member’s page now. Not sure the binding is of the highest standard, but very nice for 36 USD and internally Fine! I was pleasantly surprised by the paper and text size, and pleased but unsurprised by the loveliness of the engravings! Thanks again for being in this book’s corner.

mar 16, 2:46 pm

>64 GusLogan: thanks for remembering to come back and share. I think it looks good! I presume now you will be in the market for Down the River :).

I have dreams of commissioning Hannah Brown to work her magic on a copy of Through the Woods. Alas, with her bindings 'starting at' £2000, it might be a while.

mar 16, 7:15 pm

I confess surprise if the text employed isn't the very first consideration in almost any reader's choice of a default Shakespeare, whether preference is for a modern version or for something close to the original orthography as presented in the LEC and Nonesuch sets. For anyone seeking the latter, the New Nonesuch, while not a fine press production, is altogether serviceable and, to me, sufficiently welcoming:

It shares my reading time with the LEC edition, so my modernised 1899 set perhaps only keeps its place through being one of the most delightful presences on the shelves here -

mar 31, 7:48 am

FS update email received today came with this video.


mar 31, 8:48 am

Is it just me or does the material to cover the books look like something your grandmother would use as wallpaper for a guest bedroom?

mar 31, 9:12 am

>68 Joshbooks1:
Funny you should say that - the Limited Editions Club Shakespeare has boards inspired by the wallpaper of a guest bedroom of a mate of Shakespeare’s (a vintner, no less).

mar 31, 9:24 am

Yes, 16th & 17th century English wallpaper was black and white, printed in small sheets of paper which were stuck together to line your room. The V&A has some, but being so fragile sadly very little survives. I am sure Neil Packer has done his homework. Even so, white silk will be a nightmare in use.

mar 31, 9:41 am

I believe the black thread is silk, the white being linen.

Redigerat: mar 31, 9:46 am

For all the Shakespeare fans.

"To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio, Peter Harrington is privileged to present a landmark offering of each of the Four Folios as well as a first collected edition of Shakespeare’s Poems – a rare occasion to acquire all the collected works of Shakespeare published in the 17th century".


mar 31, 10:10 am

>72 Lukas1990: I'm not very impressed tbh. There isn't even a tipped in limitation page let alone a decorative box.

mar 31, 10:25 am

>71 FitzJames: Slightly better I suppose :)

mar 31, 6:18 pm

>68 Joshbooks1: That’s exactly what it looks like, and that’s not a compliment. Hopefully it looks much better in the finished product.

apr 2, 6:58 am

>68 Joshbooks1: My initial thought was that the FS just wrapped it in camouflage to not reveal everything now. However, having seen the latest video, I'm afraid this is the real deal...

apr 2, 9:51 am


apr 2, 11:47 am

>76 Dr.Fiddy: Is that a Magic Eye poster? I still don't see the car if so.

apr 2, 2:00 pm

>77 InVitrio: >78 Shadekeep: Haha... Car makers usually camouflage new models before release data (e.g., during test drives on public roads) in order to not reveal too much. Patterns like this are typical; therefore, my first thought when I saw the Shakespeare books was that they were camouflaged 😊💁

apr 2, 7:50 pm

>79 Dr.Fiddy: Stealthspeare!

apr 2, 11:42 pm

I was honestly disappointed initially that the set wasn’t at least quarter-bound in leather; but I like the concept. I’ve been waiting for a good Shakespeare set that is less of a burden on space and budget than the Letterpress editions, and felt that the older FS sets were too dated. I’ve been sticking with my Norton from college waiting for a set like this to come along, so hopefully it won’t disappoint. For the record, I absolutely love Packer’s illustrations in The Divine Comedy, so I’m keeping expectations pretty high.

apr 3, 8:08 am

This may have been discussed and I missed it, but is the text going to be from the First Folio or something different?

apr 3, 9:47 am

>82 SDB2012: I’d bet real money that they’ll use the Oxford editions, same as the letterpress series.

apr 3, 11:24 am

>83 cwl: It would be a weird move considering their stating that they are celebrating the anniversary of the folio. I am hoping we learn something to justify the existence of this LE. The fact that it is 3 volumes is a pretty big strike against it imo. I could be tempted by the folio text though.

I've said it before but I fear the justification for the existence of this LE will be in the binding and the box...

apr 3, 12:55 pm

Perhaps this will be the first edition to include the Cygnus poem?

apr 3, 12:59 pm

>85 Shadekeep:

Complete Plays only is my understanding of this edition?

apr 3, 2:03 pm

>86 bookfair_e: That makes sense, and my comment was mostly tongue in cheek anyway. I imagine there'd have to be an overwhelming consensus among Shakespeare scholars for any new work to be accepted into the canon.

jun 29, 6:18 am

The bookseller has an article in which it states there will be 1000 copies and the price is £1000:


jun 29, 6:21 am

Someone on one the Facebook group spotted this article today regarding the upcoming Shakespeare set LE. It states the price will be £1,000.


jun 29, 8:29 am

Out of all the esteemed Shakespearean scholars why on earth would they choose Judi Dench to co-author the introduction and foreward? Only if Folio selected Orlando Bloom for Lord of the Rings or Daniel Craig for Casino Royale. What an odd choice.

jun 29, 9:16 am

>90 Joshbooks1:

Doesn't seem nearly so silly to me, given her decades of familiarity with the texts and with presenting them to living audiences: her reflections on Shakespeare may be quite as interesting to a readership of book collectors as those of any professional scholar.

£1000 happens to be exactly what I paid for my LEC set of the plays, which soon became my usual recourse, and I don't expect I'll be tempted by this edition.

jun 29, 10:17 am

>90 Joshbooks1: it just so happens that she will be releasing a book on her musings about Shakespeare shortly. Possibly coincidental timing, but probably not, given the year. But no, do not expect anything of the academic quality of, say, the Riverside. I’m still placing my bet on the Oxford text, particularly given the additional plays.

Redigerat: jun 29, 10:38 am

>90 Joshbooks1: Seems like both a good choice and a sound business decision to me. Judi Dench has spent her life immersed in Shakespeare's works and the point of view of an actor is certainly appropriate. Shakespeare himself was no academic and was clearly far more closely involved with actors than with academics. And while we don't know yet if Dench is signing, a book signed by herself - or Craig for that matter - would clearly be far more sought after by collectors than one signed by an obscure scholar. If the Casino Royale LE had been signed by Craig it would almost certainly have sold out by now.

Redigerat: jun 29, 1:47 pm

>90 Joshbooks1: As others have mentioned, these are after all plays & were written to be performed, not picked apart by academics, so the insight of an actor like a Dench or McKellen who has spent most of their career performing the plays doesn't seem like a particularly crazy choice. Doran similarly has worked on Shakespeare for most of his career both inside & outside the Royal Shakespeare Company which he led for the last 11 years.

Similarly if FS announced an edition of the complete librettos of Gilbert & Sullivan I wouldn’t be horrified by an introduction from Andrew Lloyd Webber who has worked in musical theatre for most of his life & may have some personal insight than from yet another bone dry academic.

jun 29, 11:54 am

>93 Levin40: It's certainly a good business decision, especially regarding her signature which I never thought of. It wouldn't have persuaded me in either direction but I'm sure it would entice other people who normally wouldn't buy such books. A lot of the best or most famous authors were not academics but that doesn't mean academics or experts wouldn't have been preferable. I guess it brings a contemporary new age twist and I've read enough introductions on Shakespeare - just a little surprised with the selection.

I bought Madame Bovary from FS because of Knausgaard's introduction. Even though he recently died it would have been fabulous if they chose someone like Javier Marias who spoke about Shakespearean themes in nearly all his novels with the majority of titles being Shakespeare quotes.

>92 cwl: Interesting. I wonder what text they will use. I still think if one is to read these texts the LEC or Easton Press, which will be similar in price or cheaper than this set, would be preferable. I couldn't imagine having to read 12-13 plays crammed in one huge volume.

jun 29, 12:43 pm

The original individual letterpress issues all had introductions by actors, and illustrations from specific performances, well received at the time. Too much work and expense for the current crop to follow the example. Personally on the few occasions I still read Shakespeare (having memorised large chunks of it) I revert to the old Collins Complete in a handy size on India paper, unencumbered by scholarly footnotes.

jun 30, 5:33 pm

>93 Levin40: I agree. If this set is signed by Judi Dench it will probably sell out quite quickly. Otherwise, for £1000 what exactly sets this set apart from numerous other beautifully produced complete works of WM?

Redigerat: jun 30, 10:17 pm

>97 astropi: If Dench’s signature is a must-have people could always buy a signed copy of her own Shakespeare book (available in all good bookshops on 26th October for a mere £25), cut the signed page out, stick it into their preferred edition of the complete works, wrap their edition in a lace doily & save themselves £975 !

jul 7, 7:12 pm

>90 Joshbooks1: Did you ever watch the 1968 film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream where Judi Dench performs the role of Titania while topless with her titties painted green?

I seriously doubt any other scholar Folio could have chosen has done that, so Dench was the obvious choice for the new edition.

Redigerat: jul 8, 7:24 am

>100 LeBacon: You joined yesterday just to say this?

jul 8, 11:44 pm

Redigerat: jul 9, 2:21 pm

I remember the old FS Shakespeare page mentioned that the books would be presented in a box of remarkable design or something like that, so I'm looking forward to seeing what that refers to. I hope it's something cool like how The Divine Comedy LE was presented.

Additionally: people have probably already seen this post on Twitter a while back - June 7th apparently - but I thought I'd share it here since this looks to be one of the Shakespeare volumes. (Previously I'd had the thought, "oh, is that Beowulf in the background?" and now that does indeed seem to be the case lol.)

Redigerat: jul 9, 3:26 pm

>103 BooksFriendsNotFood: I can't pick out whether it's a tiny woman or a giant book. The latter case will be an even harder nope from me. The only thing worse than cramming all the plays into 3 volumes is making the books too large to be wielded without a support of some kind.

Redigerat: jul 9, 5:02 pm

>104 L.Bloom: It does seem to me like the book is a bit oversized - maybe around the size of or slightly larger than the FS Kafka on the Shore or the FS Marvel Heroes series (Doctor Strange, Black Panther, etc.) - but I think this will allow for more space on the page instead of trying to cram everything into three smaller volumes. I think the Jacquard cover also looks decent in this size. I'm not quite sure about the black sprayed edges though if I'm seeing that correctly: maybe I would've preferred just the top edge to be sprayed black?

Generally though, I'm glad whenever a book is smaller than Beowulf! (Screen grabbed from Twitter.)

jul 10, 8:37 am

>105 BooksFriendsNotFood: It’s a large book, but the perspective likely throws things off. That type of shot is very handy for showing off your catch of the day.

jul 10, 9:09 am

I like the square-ish proportions of it very much. Same shape as the Rainbow Shakespeare but bigger.

jul 10, 2:26 pm

>106 What_What: Something to keep in mind, thank you! I finally bothered to look at the measurements — this whole time I thought it was the size of the Illuminated Editions from Beehive Books but now I know it's even larger XD

Redigerat: jul 14, 4:28 pm

Det här meddelandet har tagits bort av dess författare.

jul 15, 12:41 am

>88 DMulvee: My brain has been thinking £1000 and going oh that'd be about $1300, but I just realized that FS will price this at $1500 USD (which is what they did with the LOTR LE) and adding in tax and shipping, that'll end up closer to $1700 USD. 🥲

Unless this somehow ends up being at least 1.3x as gorgeous as The Divine Comedy LE, I'm not sure I could justify it.

Redigerat: aug 2, 2:55 am

I have no idea what this article actually says due to the paywall, but the header pic is FS Shakespeare:


aug 2, 3:15 am

>111 BooksFriendsNotFood: An accessible link: https://archive.li/PW371 - it's not the best written article in the world, but this was interesting:

"...limited editions ranging everywhere from $150 to, in the case of the First Folio, $1,500. Not exactly “at a price within the reach of everyman”—but within the reach of those who prioritize fandoms in their budgets."

aug 2, 3:39 am

>112 HarpsichordKnight: Thank you very much! There's actually quite a lot of good-to-know facts in there for people not super familiar with the company's history and subsequent developments.

aug 2, 3:53 am

Yes, it's still definitely worth reading, and a good summary of where the company is at. Just something about the writer's writing style grated on me haha.

aug 2, 4:23 am

>114 HarpsichordKnight: That's very fair. The first few paragraphs especially - e.g. "obsessive fans and collectors" - made me squint a bit.

aug 2, 6:08 am

What a pleasure to read such an enthusiastic article. Maybe it will cheer some of our more miserable Devotees to know how well Folio are doing!

aug 2, 7:21 am

"Endless gold foil-stamping over richly textured cloth. Midnight-blue endpapers. Full-color illustrations. An abstract slipcase adorned with impressionist work by artist Dave McKean.

This isn’t erotica..."

I beg to differ.

aug 2, 9:50 am

>111 BooksFriendsNotFood: and everyone else...

...when encountering paywalls, more often than not, 12ft.io and archive.pe are your friends.

aug 2, 10:15 am

>112 HarpsichordKnight:

Thanks for the link--an interesting article and it provides a head's up that there will soon be a three-volume DC compendium to match the Marvel one (the article has a picture of The Golden Age of DC Comics: 1938-1956).

aug 2, 10:37 am

'The Folio Society makes the world’s most expensive and lavishly designed books.'

If that's their starting point, I would take anything else with a big pinch of salt.

aug 2, 6:48 pm

>118 CJDelDotto: Thank you!

aug 2, 8:44 pm

A better look!! Fairy certain I won't be able to resist these beauts.


aug 2, 8:50 pm

>122 BooksFriendsNotFood:
Great find.
But I already have the Norton first folio, the Letterpress Shakespeare and an earlier full set of Shakespeare's play by the FS.
Do I really need this?
If I do buy them I will never read them, just admire them.
Is that worth A$2000+?
A difficult question.

aug 2, 9:01 pm

>123 wcarter: A difficult decision indeed! The individual Letterpress Shakespeare volumes especially must be such ideal readings of the plays.

I have quite a few Shakespeare plays but they're mostly the Barnes & Noble Shakespeare paperbacks (e.g. https://tinyurl.com/49rzxc95) which are lovely but I'm fairly certain I'd turn to this new FS set if I had it, so I wouldn't have to feel too guilty!

I really hope there are a plethora of illustrations and it's not just one per play.

aug 3, 2:35 pm

>122 BooksFriendsNotFood: Yikes, 2 column pages... That's truly the final nope in the coffin for me.

aug 3, 2:47 pm

>125 L.Bloom: yeah. My thoughts - yeah that's big. hey, that looks pretty good. That Antony and Cleopatra cover page looks fantastic. This is going to be great!!! wait...rewind...ugggg...gahhhh...grrrrrr...wtf?

aug 3, 3:37 pm

>126 SDB2012: Agree on size - it looks quite nice and I like the details but it looks like I could cross the Atlantic comfortably on one of those things, which is not conducive to reading.

aug 3, 3:59 pm

I like the look of it more than I expected. I do like a larger tome though.

aug 3, 4:40 pm

I also wish that there was only one column per page instead of two, but the sheer size of these books more than compensates for this formatting of the text. Moreover, I'm so smitten with Neil Packer's art and design as well as the silk binding of these books that I'm definitely planning on buying the set when it's officially published next month.

aug 3, 8:06 pm

>126 SDB2012: I suspect the two column layout is a nod to the first folio. But I share your preference.

aug 3, 8:44 pm

Sounds like I'm in the minority, but I like the two-column format for this kind of thing. Poetry and plays often scan better for me that way, as opposed to wide swathes of whitespace on the far margin. But I did grow up reading a number of sources that used two-column layout, so some of my preference is likely acclimation as well.

aug 4, 12:22 pm

Does anyone know what the source text will be? Will it be the Oxford Shakespeare? Any sense as to the critical apparatus, e.g., footnotes, endnotes?

aug 4, 1:19 pm

The FS website now says "Neil Packer...produced an illustration for each of Shakespeare’s plays" so I guess it is one illustration per play.

>132 taracomp: This is all it says in the Fast Company article:

"Given that the plays have been passed down for centuries in varying permutations, the team devoted considerable editorial research and energy to presenting the most accurate original text."

aug 4, 1:45 pm

Two columns. I'm fine with that, personally, but that's probably because I read a lot of science journals. It seems normal to me. I didn't realise it upset others quite so much. I guess it's what you're used to.

aug 4, 4:34 pm

The Riverside used two columns, and likewise this edition has the space for it. If one is reading a smaller-format edition like the Folgers, I could see the problem. Single column, like the letterpress edition, would leave acres of white space. I have no skin in this game since it will be a firm no from me.

aug 4, 4:57 pm

>135 cwl: I agree that from a practical perspective it's a non issue. For me it's purely aesthetic. It makes sense for bilingual translated works but generally I just think it looks overly busy.

aug 5, 9:45 pm

Those of us who have been buying FS books for some time recall the experience of the silk or silk-like bindings fading considerably. Does anyone have thoughts on the durability of this linen with silk material?

aug 5, 9:54 pm

>137 Forthwith: I foresee these spines yellowing quite a bit unless facing inwards on a bookcase. Are these slipcased or in a solander? That could save them.

aug 5, 10:14 pm

Another article with a picture/view of one of the volumes, in case anyone is interested: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/shakespeare-complete-plays-edition-hand-230000864.html...

I was tickled by the accuracy of the following: Despite perceptions, buyers are “not always wealthy” and many are in the 25 to 50 age bracket.

Following the reading of this article, I am now asking all friends & family to refer to me as a "literary obsessive" rather than a book addict LOL.

Redigerat: aug 6, 10:02 am

>132 taracomp: The article linked to in the post above states that it uses the Arden version of the text - the Arden also uses 2 columns so seems to be a straight port of the Arden text. The individual Arden editions contain copious notes etc but these are missing from their version of the Complete Works (presumably for reasons of space), so i assume this volume would also omit footnotes/critical analysis etc.

aug 6, 12:55 pm

I don't use gloves when handling a Folio but I may need to make the investment for this white linen affair.

aug 6, 8:30 pm

Looking forward to this one!

aug 7, 9:31 am

>140 antinous_in_london: Thanks antinous. I wonder if you could pick up the individual Arden texts and use them as a companion while reading.

aug 8, 6:05 am

>141 Forthwith: After all you do not want to keep interrupting your study of it by having to exclaim 'Out, damned spot!'

Redigerat: aug 8, 3:25 pm

>141 Forthwith: Very good point! Probably not a good choice for those with OCD.

>144 English-bookseller: Nicely done :D

aug 8, 5:17 pm

I hope that the text has been highly censored, or it won't have a chance in Florida and other states as the movement continues.

aug 9, 1:14 am

So the second image in this Instagram post is interesting because the earlier mockup for the FS Divine Comedy LE case is so different! But I'm sharing it here because Neil Packer mentioned in one of the comments (this was thirteen weeks ago) that he was working on the artwork for the Shakespeare LE box, which I find exciting!


Redigerat: aug 9, 9:59 am

>146 Forthwith: Do they realise that the children at school who pay attention to Shakespeare are not generally the same ones who are making the best with two backs. At least, that's how it was in my day, alas…

aug 9, 10:16 am

>146 Forthwith: A decision that affects every literate person in Florida. All five of them should protest.

aug 9, 2:23 pm

>146 Forthwith: Wish I could say this is unbelievable... but sadly, I believe it to be all too real.

aug 9, 5:55 pm

>149 Shadekeep: A decision that affects every literate person in Florida. All five of them should protest.

Just... wow. I really expected better on this forum, but this comment just goes to show that book forums are by no means immune from ignorant comments. Shame on you.

aug 9, 6:36 pm

>151 filox: Well, Florida did vote for Meatball Ron twice, so they knew what they were getting: strict authoritarian, overreaching government.

If they are going to whine about also being ridiculed after they voluntarily gave away their freedoms and rights, then they should vote better.

Shame on them.

aug 9, 7:42 pm

>149 Shadekeep: I'm from originally Florida (I no longer live there) and I found this funny. It's ok to make jokes people.

Redigerat: aug 9, 8:06 pm

Can I respectfully put in my two cents? Keep the politics out of these threads. If someone feels compelled to debate politics there are many other forums to do so on the internet.

aug 9, 9:17 pm

In my mind it was clear that Shadekeep is being sarcastic, and I did not see anything wrong with his post.

>154 vmb443: In general I concur, although in this particular case the politics involve books, so it seems like a fair topic to discuss so long as people are respectful of course.

aug 9, 10:32 pm

>149 Shadekeep: Didn't start the Florida comments. Florida schools are advising teachers that it could be illegal to include Shakespeare. Don't see what's wrong with the sarcasm. Probably the only offended Floridians aren't reading about a LE Shakespeare anyhow...

aug 10, 9:49 am

>153 L.Bloom: Much ta. My comment was meant to be wry. Living in the US, I have a similar kind of joke for every state of the union, and often they were told to me by someone from that state. If we can't laugh at ourselves...

aug 10, 8:04 pm

I thought it was hilarious.

aug 11, 3:50 pm

>122 BooksFriendsNotFood: Thanks for the link. It does seem to be a beautiful edition. The covers and illustrations look exquisite.

aug 11, 8:26 pm

>159 cronshaw: My pleasure! And yes I wholeheartedly agree.

aug 26, 9:30 am

In late Oct the British Library will be publishing a colour facsimile of their complete First Folio. It’s quality looks superior to the rather dark Norton version which we’ve long known, of which the two FS bindings, the black leather LE and standard red bonded leather, are the same. It will be bound in red cloth and slipcased. There was a time when FS would have produced a LE from the new edition with a custom binding, as had been done with the Luttrell Psalter, inter alia. That would have been an instant buy. Instead, the BL gets my money. We might see one yet, but sadly I’m not holding my breath.

aug 26, 1:12 pm

>161 cwl: If you happen to catch the release of this edition, please do post about it again. I'd be curious to check it out.

Also, how cool that they've just acquired a unique master from The KLF.

aug 26, 9:54 pm

Rizzoli is doing a facsimile of the First Folio coming out this autumn for the 400th Anniversary. Folio Society's LE is similarly in celebration of the First Folio's 400th anniversary. So, I would expect a facsimile or lightly edited version of Shakespeare's First Folio. That means no Pericles or Two Noble Kinsman.

aug 26, 10:32 pm

>163 billburden:

Apparently, the FS has already confirmed that those two plays will be included - link in post 88 above - and that they're using the Arden text, which is fully edited and with modern spelling - link in post 139. So, just a mild case of idle curiosity for me.

Redigerat: aug 27, 4:30 am

>163 billburden: the Rizzoli and BL editions are the same. Rizzoli is probably underwriting the publication costs for the BL.

aug 27, 4:49 am

>164 terebinth: I must have overlooked the article you pointed out. While I would much like a complete edition of all of Shakespeare's plays, I don't know how that I agree that a celebration of the First Folio should not be an almost facsimile of the First Folio. I understand some editing of the text. But, we're celebrating the First Folio, not exactly Shakespeare. I could understand a new production of all his works including newly attributed plays for a celebration of Shakespeare's birth or death. The 475th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth is in 2039. and the 425th anniversary of his death in 2041. My point is that generally people accept anniversaries of multiples of 25 and that gives a lot of anniversaries to play with. So, making the anniversary of the First Folio about the First Folio rather than about Shakespeare makes more sense to me.

aug 27, 10:15 am

>166 billburden:

I don't know - it's a marketing opportunity, with more items about Shakespeare in the media than is usual, but I can't see that omitting non-First Folio plays from a new edition would be an effective sales ploy. First Folio facsimiles as such are fairly well covered, and the minority of us who prefer a lightly edited or unedited text have been catered for if not by the FS: so a modern version of the complete plays, well printed and with somewhat innovative design, seems altogether in keeping with current Folio policies. Only sixteen years to 2039, but sixteen years is an eternity to a marketing department: and if I were at all drawn to the edition I'd much rather buy it while I'm 64 than wait until I'm 80!

sep 10, 9:48 pm

I saw someone mention that the Shakespeare set will come in a slipcase made by Ludlow bookbinders*. Honestly when I heard "box of remarkable design" I didn't imagine "slipcase" so I'm curious to see if and how it lives up to the grand claim.

*I decided against sharing the source of this info because I'm not sure whether the person had the go-ahead to share this - if it is in fact accurate - so I figure it's better to keep it discreet.

sep 11, 12:47 am

I think this will become the most expensive Folio Book ever created.
Not sure I like the Silk-Binding though

sep 11, 4:23 am

>169 Ragnaroek: There are a few that were sold for the same price or more:
The Waste Land $1,500
Luttrell Psalter £1,090
Lord of the Rings £1,000

Some other older LEs and special bindings would be more expensive now when you take inflation into account.

sep 19, 10:01 am

An interview with Kate Grimwade, FS Production Director, was just posted on Collectible Book Vault which shows what the slipcase will look like.


sep 19, 10:43 am

>171 jsg1976: Interesting article, thanks.

I like the bindings and the illustrations but it looks like there is nothing on the spines of each one to say what they are.

sep 19, 10:55 am

>172 assemblyman: I'm assuming the jester's hat, heart and crown on the spines is enough (in the minds of the FS) to tell which is which, bold design choice.

sep 19, 11:42 am

>173 EdmundRodriguez: Yes your right, blind as I am I didn't see that initially. I would still prefer a title on each but that's just my personal preference. It will be interesting to see how well this set sells.

sep 19, 11:43 am

The design would have been destroyed, or at best seriously marred, with titles and the FS colophon. I like what they’ve done and the illustrations, paired with the bindings, are growing on me. My only fear is how the bindings will look with actual use; silk and cream in an experimental weave doesn’t sound especially durable.

sep 19, 1:38 pm

I really like the Three Symbols design. Very nice. And the slipcase looks suitably sturdy.

sep 19, 2:18 pm

>169 Ragnaroek: I think this will become the most expensive Folio Book ever created.

Nope, to my understanding (someone correct me of I'm mistaken) that honor goes to Night Thoughts --

Night Thoughts was a LE released in 2005. As far as I know, it is the ONLY edition that reproduces all of Blake's illustrations in color which is really amazing (especially to Blake fans, and if you're not a Blake fan, you should be)! That said, it was also $2000 which is about $3200 today. The book has NOT appreciated well. You can find copies for significantly less than retail. That said, I've heard from people that do own a copy that it is absolutely magnificent and a prize in their collection. The set did eventually sell out is because it truly is a unique and amazing production. Also, at that time the FS did allow people to pay in installments -- for something of this magnitude they had 12 interest-free installments.

sep 19, 2:43 pm

>177 astropi: Luttrell Psalter at 1090 pounds. A copy sold recently for 1500 US dollars. There were a couple of more expensive items that weren't specifically books.

sep 19, 2:47 pm

We know who bound this gorgeous books ?
Any special in terms of care when handling silk ?

sep 19, 3:12 pm

>178 Jayked: Fair point, I forgot about Bayeux Tapestry LE :)
It was pretty unique and interesting, although certainly not a book. If I recall consensus was that it's intriguing, but not particularly suited for most FS aficionados.
At today's exchange rate, I think Night Thoughts still is the most expensive item -- again, assuming you paid the full $2000.

>179 Ragnaroek: Here are gorgeous pictures and description from our own wcarter --

Redigerat: sep 19, 6:36 pm

>177 astropi:
Night Thoughts was £875 on release while the Luttrell Psalter was £1090.
The most expensive ITEM was the Bayeaux Tapestry scroll at £1920.

sep 19, 10:31 pm

I do have to say that with the silk covers, and the expected high price of this edition, I was expecting something a little more complex than a simple slip cover. It does look quite robust, but I was hoping for something as unique and protective as the Divine Comedy set.

sep 20, 7:24 am

>182 hamletscamaro: Previously, we would have had a Solander case, which would have kept the silk from fading. No longer.

sep 20, 7:42 am

>183 cwl: wonder what the back of the slipcase looks like. Maybe shelve it reversed to protect from sunlight. Or could install a little curtain screen like you might have in a theatre.

sep 20, 8:37 am

>171 jsg1976: I find that design much too busy.

sep 20, 9:55 am

It's seems extremely expensive for what you're getting, especially as a non-UK citizen. Just out of curiosity why do prospective buyers prefer this edition say over something like Easton Press' Shakespeare or even LEC? I don't own anything by Easton Press but the 39 individual volumes with drawings seem better in almost every way with the most important being readability. They are similar prices and I guess you'd missing out on a Judi Dench signature? I'd much prefer to read individual volumes than very cramped text housing at least 12 plays in each tomb. Or even get 5-6 of your favorite plays from Folio's Complete Letterpress catalogue?

Redigerat: sep 20, 10:34 am

>186 Joshbooks1:
I own the 39-volume EP set with the Byam Shaw illustrations that you reference, and it is my go-to Shakespeare. I don’t know what a set costs on the secondary market, as I bought mine on a one-a-month basis for $39.95 each when they were new. Earlier, EP also reproduced the 39 LEC volumes with leather bindings.

I have 4 of Folio’s Letterpress Shakespeares, but I don’t see the attraction. No notes or illustrations, so they just sit on my shelf looking impressive. The Oxford Companions are very nice for serious study, but the type is pretty small for concentrated reading.

sep 20, 10:16 am

>186 Joshbooks1: You will keep pushing the Easton Press Shakespeare. Personally, I find this FS LE quite beautiful with a binding design and illustrations far more creative and original than anything I've seen from Easton Press. Horses for courses indeed.

sep 20, 11:00 am

I'm curious, is The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Annotated from Greenwich House (Crown Publishers) any good? It seems attractive from the photos I've seen online. Single volume though, so the usual concerns about thickness no doubt apply.

sep 20, 11:21 am

Out of curiosity who here intends to get the LE at this stage?

Redigerat: sep 20, 11:25 am

A look at the actual set! It's nice that the text pages are also printed in two colors.


sep 20, 11:38 am

>190 assemblyman: I'm a strong maybe depending on the price. I would like a nice set and do enjoy the two-column layout they've gone with here.

sep 20, 11:38 am

>190 assemblyman: I think at this point, I look at this set and go "how interesting" instead of "I desperately need to own that", so for now my plan is to skip it! I'm relieved that the case wasn't particularly innovative because I'm happier untempted haha.

Also, I read Antony and Cleopatra a few days ago and was forcibly reminded that the only Shakespeare plays I hold dearly to my heart are Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, so I really should not be buying all of his works anyways.

I'm still hoping that FS will one day publish a few individual Shakespeare plays with 6-7 color illustrations in each.

sep 20, 11:45 am

>186 Joshbooks1: Just out of curiosity why do prospective buyers prefer this edition say over something like Easton Press' Shakespeare or even LEC?

What puzzles me is how anybody's first criterion in selecting their primary edition of Shakespeare would be anything but the text: does the Easton edition follow the Nonesuch, LEC and New Nonesuch in using Herbert Farjeon's text which preserves almost every aspect of the original orthography? If it does, that would explain why many readers avoid it, just as I immediately lose interest in any edition employing a modernised text.

Redigerat: sep 20, 12:03 pm

>194 terebinth:
The Byam Shaw texts are modernized, while the LEC reproductions are original. Personally, it doesn’t matter, and I enjoy reading both.

sep 20, 1:23 pm

>190 assemblyman: Out of curiosity who here intends to get the LE at this stage?

I'm a very definite 'no'. I have a complete Folio first edition, the plays in individual volumes. the perfect size for reading.

Redigerat: sep 20, 1:26 pm

>190 assemblyman: I'm going to keep up my low-key search for the rest of the Letterpress series instead of grabbing this. 15 to go!

sep 20, 2:20 pm

I plan to buy it. I didn’t start collecting Folio Society until post-Letterpress editions, and I’ve been waiting for something like this from Folio. I absolutely love Neil Packer’s illustrations in general, and these look fantastic. I, too, was hoping for a solander box. Curious about that decision, but maybe silk doesn’t preserve as well in enclosed spaces (humidity issue?).

sep 20, 2:33 pm

For general reading purposes, I prefer a high-quality annotated edition such as the Norton Shakespeare, Stephen Greenblatt general editor, if I want to use a one-volume text or Signet, Oxford World's Classics, or New Cambridge editions if I just want to deal with an individual play. That said, I do plan to buy the LE next week. Shakespeare means a lot to me, and I had been waiting for a beautiful, illustrated fine press edition like this for a while. (Sorry, but EP and LEC are not my idea of fine press books.) Also, I love what Neil Packer and FS did with Dante's Divine Comedy a couple years ago. The Complete Works will sit next to my FS Divine Comedy for years to come.

sep 20, 3:09 pm

Rösta: Do you (currently) plan to purchase the forthcoming FS LE "Complete Plays of Shakespeare"?

Nuvarande ställning: Ja 16, Nej 43, Tvekar 11

sep 20, 3:17 pm

>199 CJDelDotto:

Intriguing criteria you have there: I don't think of myself as a real collector at all and am no authority on fine press books, I'm just perplexed as to what the measure might be by which this is a fine press production and LEC books aren't.

sep 20, 3:48 pm

>196 folio_books: I have had my eye on the 1988 FS set for a while now but ponder at times going for the rainbow set one at a time instead. One of these days I will decide.
>197 gmacaree: That will be some shelf space when you finish.

Redigerat: sep 20, 4:09 pm

>198 Fortinbras1601: Solander designed his box for storing botanical specimens, which must be kept at low humidity. Their choice is a cost-cutting exercise, as usual these days.

Redigerat: sep 20, 4:49 pm

I do think the spines look great together and are probably best showcased in a slipcase, so maybe it's a design consideration rather than a cost-cutting measure?

A presentation case like the Gormenghast one with Neil Packer's character or scene art could've been very cool, in my opinion, but maybe that would've been too divisive since some people like their classics to look...somewhat classical (definitely not a necessity for me though).

sep 20, 4:53 pm

>203 cwl: I hadn’t made the connection to Solander’s preservation work at the British Museum. Fascinating and good point. I agree that FS has its cost-cutting levers that we see pulled here and there, but I’d like to think optimistically (along with a few others here) that they intended to display the cloth design. I don’t disagree with the sentiment that a box would have been preferable, though, at least in my opinion.

sep 20, 5:01 pm

Also, I’m sure others have noticed the creative use by Neil Packer of the interior of the slipcase as effectively a diorama of The Globe. A box would have limited the showcase of those illustrations, but… all of the books will need to be removed to view it. Still beautiful work and I can’t wait to have it in person.

Do others have experience with this type of cloth on books? I’m not too concerned given that I’m careful with storage, handling, etc. of my books (as much as one can be with small-ish children around…). More curious about long-term aging. Will keep out of direct sunlight, humidity, etc. obviously.

sep 20, 6:41 pm

>204 BooksFriendsNotFood: “some people like their classics to look...somewhat classical.”

That’s me. An old guy with an old person’s taste. Both the slipcase and internal art look cartoonish to me, not reflective of the dignity the bard deserves.

sep 20, 7:36 pm

>206 Fortinbras1601: all of the books would need to be removed
Folio has published more and more books that have some internal slipcase gimmick. It's one of those things that look really cool on a product page or on social media but it's not really something I've experienced as positive in real life. If the book comes out I'm reading it, I'm not casually doing it to take a look inside the slipcase. Illustrations on the outside of the slipcase can at least be enjoyed in a bookshelf.

I actually like the conceit of an internal view of the Globe, to be clear. If it was one of those "bookcase nook" type things (basically an empty slipcase with some diorama for decoration in shelves) I think it would do well selling on its own.

>207 jroger1: I'm priced out of considering this LE in the first place but it seems to me the more conservative book market for classics like Shakespeare is well served, and it's hard to entice someone with so many options for alternative states. FS is clearly trying to so something off the wall with these classics, and sometimes it seems well received like the Dante set. Beowulf wasn't as popular. We'll see how this does, but at least they're all a consistent strategy.

Redigerat: sep 20, 8:09 pm

Considering all of the illustrations in a book are hidden inside the covers, an illustration inside a slipcase doesn’t seem so crazy.

sep 20, 8:28 pm

>209 What_What:
The illustrations inside a book are not intended to be hidden. They are intended to be seen and admired as the book is read. If the book is never read, the owner has wasted his or her money.

sep 20, 8:35 pm

My only complaint about the illustrations is that one at the beginning of each play isn't really going to better my read through in any way. It worked for The Divine Comedy because each canto is so short, but a Shakespeare play is quite a bit longer.

>208 A.Godhelm: I shuddered at the mention of Beowulf lol — it still frustrates me that it couldn't have been about 3-4x smaller! It showed up in a dream of mine once and it was comparable in height to The Shadow of the Wind LE - frankly, it looked adorable with its tiny clamshell case and everything - and I was ecstatic, only to wake up disappointed XD

sep 20, 9:58 pm

I will not be purchasing the new LE. I will be spending my book budget elsewhere since my FS letterpress hunt is down to five plays, and I already own the First Folio Facsimile LE. I hope the price fits the quality and that anyone who does buy this edition treasures it.

sep 20, 11:22 pm

>203 cwl: Given that the slipcases are being produced by Ludlow Bookbinders I’m not sure ‘cost-cutting’ was the reason - there are many much cheaper companies they could have chosen if they wanted to cost-cut.

sep 21, 12:04 am

i don't know. I like collecting books and I like the high quality materials and bindings that they come in, but I'm ambivalent about LEs. Does anybody think they'll eventually produce a standard version of the Shakespeare Complete Plays? The US has LOA, the French have Pleiade, and I like to think of Folio as like the UK's version of a press devoted to nice version of UK literature. But, Shakespeare is such a big deal it seems not in the spirit of being a book lover to deny people the opportunity to share in the celebrations of the 400th Anniversary of the First Folio with a nice edition. I know Rizzoli is having a one volume First Folio Facsimile for $135 or $175, but I wish Folio would, in addition to creating a fabulously luxurious edition to celebrate the 400th Anniversary, also release a Standard Version or Fine Edition for everyone else.

sep 21, 5:07 am

3 volumes would be unwieldy to read, so it is a pass from me - though I think the illustrations look fantastic. Like others since this has been announced I have started to pick up a few of the Letterpress (only 3 so far!) but I am enjoying these - though due to the size and weight, I don't intend to purchase all of them

sep 21, 8:38 am

>215 DMulvee:

"If the book comes out I'm reading it, I'm not casually doing it to take a look inside the slipcase. Illustrations on the outside of the slipcase can at least be enjoyed in a bookshelf. "

It's the same for me. It's kind of amusing, but in the end mostly wasted. I prefer my art to be on the outside of the slipcase.

sep 21, 8:41 am

I won't be buying it. I don't like the illustrations at all, the books are much too large / heavy, so reading would be a chore, same goes for the representation on the page with two columns and not enough space for longer lines. I also prefer decent annotations (on the same page) to bare texts. This is the complete opposite of what I would want in a Shakespeare edition. I'd also worry about the silk - it's notorious for fading, changing colour etc. and with just a slipcase instead of a solander box, this seems very likely to happen here.

sep 21, 1:59 pm

>203 cwl: ... >206 Fortinbras1601:
The sides of the box look very thick, it hits the table with a very satisfying clonk. I'm speculating here but I am tempted to say that they are following in the footsteps of the Fairy Queen and the Bible LEs and have built it out of wood.

Just guessing, mind.

As for the solander box option: the Dante volumes were tiny compared to these, 1/4 or 1/3 of the size, judging from the video. These look about the size of the most recent LoTR LE volumes. You'd probably want individual boxes if you went that way.

sep 21, 2:06 pm

>207 jroger1: What does an old person taste like?

Sorry, couldn't help myself there, but, come on, don't tar all old people with the same brush ;-)

As for dignity, dear old Will had the dignity to name a character Bottom. He knew what the people wanted.

sep 21, 2:11 pm

>208 A.Godhelm: 'Folio has published more and more books that have some internal slipcase gimmick. It's one of those things that look really cool on a product page or on social media but it's not really something I've experienced as positive in real life'

They expose the 'secret' on the website before anybody has actually had the chance to buy the book. How about they let us buy it and find out for ourselves, thank you? You know, keep something as a surprise (like the Hitchhiker towel)?

sep 21, 2:14 pm

>210 jroger1: 'The illustrations inside a book are not intended to be hidden. They are intended to be seen and admired as the book is read. If the book is never read, the owner has wasted his or her money.'

Or, perhaps:

The illustrations inside the slipcase are not intended to be hidden. They are intended to be seen and admired as the books are pulled out and read. If the books are never read, the owner has wasted his or her money.

sep 21, 2:31 pm

>221 Cat_of_Ulthar: Kind of shame that they don't include a sheet of cut-out figures that you can pose inside the slipcase as though they are on stage. ^_^

sep 21, 2:47 pm

For transparency's sake, while I was a firm 'no' yesterday, I am more of a FOMO-induced, positive-leaning 'maybe' today. (¬_¬")

sep 21, 2:56 pm

>221 Cat_of_Ulthar:
I get your point, but my rooms are too dark to see inside slipcases without using a flashlight or carrying them to a lamp, neither of which a lazy (as well as old) person is inclined to do.

sep 21, 3:06 pm

sep 21, 3:17 pm

>222 Shadekeep: If they're magic swish-it-with-a-damp-brush colour cut out figures (like they had in old Rupert annuals or Led Zep's In Through the Out Door), then I'm sold ;-)

sep 21, 3:20 pm

>224 jroger1: Fair enough. Personal circumstances vary.

sep 21, 3:42 pm

>219 Cat_of_Ulthar: Ben-Gay, butterscotch, and bitter resignation.

Redigerat: sep 21, 4:46 pm

If you want a nice illustrated set of Shakespeare printed letterpress in two colours, with individual volumes, and at about 20% of the cost of this new edition, you could do much worse than the "Rainbow Shakespeare" set (review). The same books were later issued in a uniform vegetable parchment binding if you would prefer a uniform binding colour.

Or you could spend similar money to this new set but get the complete LEC set of individual volumes--each with excellent illustrations, letterpress printing, and superb book design by the masterful Bruce Rogers.

Or, if you are willing to spend a little more, you could get the Nonesuch seven-volume edition in leather. This is a real highlight of British 20th century private press publishing. Printed letterpress with great typographic design (and looks very handsome on the shelf). >45 dlphcoracl: has pictures .

Or, of course, if you have yet more money to spend, you could start collecting the Folio Letterpress Shakespeare, which are absolutely sublime (review).

I truly hope those who buy this new edition enjoy it. But I struggle to see who it's for, given the abundance of options that cater to almost every budget and allow one to sample fine bookmaking at it's best.

sep 21, 5:20 pm

Actually, I fear a snag on their quite limited internet site capacity initially. How long that may last is at question.

sep 21, 6:49 pm

>214 billburden:
Not any more are they anything like an equivalent of LOA, or even remotely close to your ideal, I'm afraid, although the secondary market is well worth exploring. I agree about LEs, to the extent I've now sold all those I bought, and partly used the proceeds to explore said secondary SEs, LOAs etc. I find most earlier FS editions more attractive than recent rehashes anyway, not least usually better size for reading.

Redigerat: sep 21, 9:01 pm

Personally, I quite like the illustrations and design and am willing to take the risk on the silk durabilitity (although size is not especially attractive).

The main thing giving me pause is that I have only read a bit of Shakespeare in the past, and am not familiar enough with Shakespeare to know if an edition without notes and some analysis would really be enjoyable to me. Though I understand the considerations as to why putting those things in a fine edition like this would be undesirable. I can’t say the idea of having to use companion volumes for simultaneous reading is very attractive either.

Maybe the best option for me is the Folio bound Oxford editions. The 1997 Folio Complete Plays looks decent enough for the price, though as far as I can tell this edition also does not include notes.

sep 21, 8:55 pm

>223 BooksFriendsNotFood: I was briefly leaning towards a FOMO-induced 'maybe', but considering >217 SF-72: SF-72's comment, I remembered why I still don't currently own a one volume Shakespeare.

>199 CJDelDotto: I prefer The Arden Shakespeare.

sep 21, 9:53 pm

The Letterpress Shakespeare editions by the FS are arguably the best editions of Shakespeare's works ever published.
You have the pure prose of Shakespeare superbly printed and bound in one volume, and the heavily annotated version in the companion volume, so you can get the best of both worlds.
For those who have not seen copies, they are reviewed here.

Redigerat: sep 21, 10:46 pm

>234 wcarter: gorgeous indeed.

sep 21, 11:46 pm

Hmm, I am starting to think I judge too many books by their covers. I could not bring myself to buy the Gormenghast LE due to the open spine, I now find myself turning my nose up at the imminent Shakespeare L.E., as it looks like a teenager has wrapped their school notebook in wallpaper!
In truth I have a number of the Letterpress editions, which I am happy with and so do not need a complete set, like this. I do hope it sells well though.

sep 22, 1:38 pm

I don't know if I mind that there are no annotations in these volumes. As long as there is plenty of space on the margins I can pencil in my own notes! :)

Redigerat: sep 22, 5:37 pm

>229 ubiquitousuk: For me personally (I'm emphasizing this in multiple ways to prevent any rotten eggs or seasonal pumpkin stuffing being thrown my way lol!), this LE is the only set I find attractive out of all of the ones mentioned. In fact, I'm not even sure if there are any other Complete Plays editions - either one or multi-volume - that I do find attractive. Even the FS Letterpress Shakespeare has unexciting binding in my eyes*, and the solander boxes are bland and don't have much shelf appeal in my opinion, especially when put side by side (and they take up so much space!).

*To clarify, it makes sense to me as a one-off - like sure, a fancy edition of your favorite play - but the design just feels kind of impersonal to me, if that makes sense at all. Also, so many books having the same cover makes me go 🤨 (even though for many others, the marbling probably adds enough uniqueness to each cover).

Additionally, with the exception of two plays, I feel more 'like' than 'love' toward Shakespeare's works overall, so I'd probably never buy each of his works individually (unless I was buying them as I read them, like I did with the pretty B&N Shakespeare editions with their nice typographical covers, but they never published all of his plays and so I also never finished reading all of his plays XD). So a beautiful, space conscious edition works well for me. And because it's FS, I'm trusting that it'll be pleasant to read even though it's more text than blank page. And the illustrations are a huge draw.

The price is, of course, insane :')

sep 23, 2:50 am

>238 BooksFriendsNotFood: of course, there's no accounting for taste so I am not the type to get his feathers ruffled because someone else doesn't like the same stuff he does.

What are the two plays you speak of?

Redigerat: sep 23, 3:20 am

Well, this edition is certainly dividing opinion: even if the LEC volumes weren't to me by a comfortable margin "the best editions of Shakespeare's works ever published" (because the Folio Letterpress doesn't present the pure verse of Shakespeare, apologies >234 wcarter:), I'd be steering clear of this set in agreement with >236 Hamwick: that "it looks like a teenager has wrapped their school notebook in wallpaper!"

Probably bodes well enough for sales, at this price level it's far better to create an edition loved and coveted by some and to which others wouldn't give shelf room than one at which most would shrug and nod their qualified approval: and the ratio seems much more promising than for, say, Rob Roy.

sep 23, 3:41 am

>240 terebinth:
I would be genuinely interested to know what you think is the best complete edition of Shakespeare's works. The only other contender I can think of is those printed by the Limited Editions Club in 1939/40. These have beautiful illustrations, but lack the detailed commentary volume. Are there any other contenders?

sep 23, 7:38 am

>239 ubiquitousuk: Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing! Interestingly, I watched both plays before I had ever read them. I experienced my favorite production of 'Hamlet' in Stratford, Canada during their Stratford Shakespearean Festival, and I watched the David Tennant & Catherine Tate 'Much Ado About Nothing' over the internet, and it was absolutely phenomenal, and not just because I'm a Doctor Who fan!

Are there any plays of his that you particularly enjoy more than the rest?

sep 23, 8:05 am

>241 wcarter:

Apologies if I was unclear, I intended immediately above to confess that for me the Limited Editions Club volumes take the prize. The Folio commentary volumes - well, they're of course not commentary volumes as such, but the separate profusely annotated Oxford edition which the FS chose to have bound up and included in the solander boxes of the Letterpress. The Shakespeare editions I have are the LEC: the four-volume New Nonesuch which like the LEC presents Herbert Farjeon's text preserving Shakespeare's orthography, and which also presents six of the plays in their full First Quarto versions: the ten volume Eversley from 1899, modernised and with basic footnotes where they're most required for comprehension: and an old half leather Oxford Standard Authors volume for maximum portability; and I've just Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest in the Folio Letterpress edition. Certainly it's most beautifully bound, which is true also of my particular Eversley set, and superbly printed.

I now and again resort to the Eversley or indeed to the OED to clarify some particular point, but I'm almost always reading Shakespeare for the delight of it rather than with scholarly intent, so it's to the LEC edition that I turn almost every time. There can't be many sets of it in the UK, so I pounced on one already here when it was offered for £1000, and relatively recently added the matching two volume edition of the Poems. I only have the New Nonesuch (1953, usually £50-£200) rather than the original seven volume fine press Nonesuch edition (1929, usually £1500-£3000) because I'm a cheapskate.

sep 23, 8:25 am

>242 BooksFriendsNotFood: Coriolanus has been a favorite of mine since I saw it performed in Philadelphia some years back. King Lear is gripping every time I see it; some truly devilish plotting villains, there. Twelfth Night is probably my favorite of the comedies. And I retain an unreasonable soft spot for Timon of Athens and King John.

I feel pretty strongly that Shakespeare is better seen than read, though; I’ve seen almost all the plays live, some many times, but I’ve read only a handful and didn’t much enjoy doing it. If I can’t find a staged production I’d rather watch a taped one than read the script.

sep 23, 10:15 am

>244 ambyrglow: That's awesome! I can really only speak toward taped productions because I've only seen the one in-person, but for me, I think there's a dependence on the specific production; for example, I watched a live screening of Cumberbatch's Hamlet in a theater and I also watched Tennant's filmed-for-tv version, but I'd still prefer to just re-read the play rather than watch either of those again haha. And if I need a change of pace, there are plenty of manga and graphic novel versions. There's actually a 'To Be Or Not To Be' Switch game that I'd like to check out eventually whenever FS stops taking all my money (the screenshots look hilarious: a quest to kill Claudius? Ophelia having -1 weakness against water? Too funny!).

Redigerat: okt 5, 8:47 am

>242 BooksFriendsNotFood: with the caveat that I have only read about 60% of them (but seen some of the others live), some favourites are

1) Hamlet (of course)
2) Henry V
3) Richard II
4) As you like it
5) Macbeth

Numbers 2 and 3 probably have something to do with my being an Englishman.

I enjoy the darkness of Macbeth, even though I find the language a bit unexciting by Shakespeare's standards. But I also very much enjoyed the two film versions with Patrick Stewart and Michael Fassbender respectively, which are works of art in their own right.

For what it's worth, there are some that were a big disappointment: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, and King John didn't do anything for me at all.

>244 ambyrglow: Coriolanus is great, I don't know why it isn't more celebrated (along with Titus, which must be a real spectacle live). People seem to gravitate to the other Roman plays for some reason.

Redigerat: sep 23, 5:52 pm

>246 ubiquitousuk: Yay Hamlet! Truly an exquisite piece of literature.

Whenever I read a book and by the end, everyone is coupled up, I go, "Dang it, they pulled an As You Like It!"

Macbeth was a fine read for me - nothing like fictional murder to keep things interesting, and who doesn't love witches? - but I was only truly impressed when my English teacher pointed out how stereotypical gender roles have men dominant and women submissive, but it's opposite in Macbeth, and that's because the spell "fair is foul, foul is fair" basically turned everything topsy-turvy! I still find it such a cool interpretation — whenever I recall it I go ooh.

I'd actually really like to revisit As You Like It and Macbeth since I'd only ever read them for school! Regarding the histories, I've largely left them unexplored so far.

sep 23, 5:33 pm

>243 terebinth:
Thanks for your reply. It is of course subjective, but I still prefer the half leather of the FS Letterpress editions to the half cloth of the Limited Editions Club. To each their own.

sep 23, 8:34 pm

>242 BooksFriendsNotFood: My two favorites are probably Macbeth and Othello. If you haven't seen Kurosawa's Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, it's heartily recommended. Hamlet is of course brilliant as well. You can see my taste runs towards the tragic side of things.

sep 24, 7:29 am

>249 Shadekeep: Thanks for the recommendation! I was wondering why the poster style looked familiar and it's because the film shares an actor and director with Rashomon haha.

Redigerat: sep 24, 9:28 am

>248 wcarter:

Oh, I certainly do too, without a moment's hesitation. It's only that for me there's a difference in the reading experience that far outweighs the difference in how the books look on the shelf. Then, when it comes to the Letterpress Shakespeare it's not even how they look on the shelf, but how they look in the usually brief period of transition from solander box to being open on the library table. It's a very delightful brief period, but still...

sep 24, 3:30 pm


Complete Letterpress Shakespeare on eBay UK.

As Crocodile Dundee might have said "Now that's what I call a Shakespeare."

sep 24, 3:31 pm

>251 terebinth: This is why I'm going to make batches of Faerie Queene style slipcases for the letterpress ones once I have everything assembled. I wish I shared your passion — or even had some tolerance — for the original orthography, but as it is, the Folio Letterpress series is my Shakespeare happy place.

Redigerat: sep 26, 4:45 am

>217 SF-72: I'm not a fan either. Personal taste of course, but they come across as caricatures: quite jarring and modernist, the stuff of GOMAs and newspaper editorial cartoonists.

sep 26, 9:04 am

I pulled the trigger and bought the set a few minutes ago!

sep 26, 9:13 am

It looks like they've already sold nearly 200 copies!

sep 26, 9:18 am

I ordered, as well. I’d spend so much more if I went down the letterpress rabbit hole, though I do love those books.

sep 26, 9:22 am

From a design standpoint, what really bugs me is how the illustration heralding the start of one play faces the page at the end of the previous play. When I'm wrapping up Julius Caesar, I don't want King Lear staring at me.

sep 26, 9:28 am

Woof, the American gratuity is back, and at a meaty $300. Still not a bad price, but a pass for me.

Redigerat: sep 26, 9:32 am

I'm almost impressed its gbp price is exactly £1,000.00 and not £999.99

I was tempted at the start when it was first announced and I am certainly still sold on Packer's art (especially after the Divine Comedy) as well as the overall presentation but alas my financial situation has changed and am priortizing a major rebind project that's eating into my book funds so this will have to be a skip but not one that I will lose sleep over, especially at a thousand pounds.

While I do appreciate the design I do find myself equally drawn to the rainbow Shakespeare that will be much more affordable and a little fun too having spent the past few months enjoying hunting some really early FS books from the 50s and 60s.

That said given the speed at which it's selling I may end up biting the bullet, I get the feeling it's a title that will hold it's value well so at the least it, if funds are needed, it could probably be offloaded in a pinch without much problems.

sep 26, 9:34 am

>256 BooksFriendsNotFood: Or haven’t, since they usually don’t drop all stock live onto the website immediately…

sep 26, 9:38 am

>261 antinous_in_london: FS just tweeted that a quarter of the limitation sold in 30 minutes!

sep 26, 9:45 am

>262 BooksFriendsNotFood: Looks like that confirms it.

Redigerat: sep 26, 10:05 am

I love the binding design and find Neil Packer's illustrations pitch-perfect, but it's too richly priced for me. Still, I'm unsurprised at its popularity, and am delighted for Folio that it's selling so well. A quarter of the limitation sold in half an hour, which for an edition that costs £1,000 is exceptional.

>260 wongie: I'm with you. Nothing will supplant my Folio (letterpress!) Rainbow series, one volume per play and the perfect reading size.

sep 26, 9:54 am

More like 300 sold in 53 minutes.

Redigerat: sep 26, 10:20 am

In general, I like that FS lowered the price of LE shipping to the US. Larger LEs like Hitchhiker's cost $80 in shipping during the summer, but now the high end of LE shipping seems to be $38 which I like much better.

And specific to the Shakespeare edition: I'm obsessed with the front-on view of the books inside the thick slipcase! It looks so good. I hope it comes with one of those Murakami bookmarks lol.

sep 26, 10:10 am

It looks great, and I'm glad it's doing well for Folio. Perhaps this will spur a glut of Letterpress editions on the secondary market! (I know it won't)

sep 26, 10:11 am

Nearly $1,700 for me. Last year I picked up an excellent condition Nonesuch set for $2,000. I don't think I need to detail the disparity in quality between the two editions to this forum. Hope those that purchase this find it to be worth the cost.

sep 26, 10:15 am

It's a fine edition, beautifully designed I think, but for £1,000 I could buy all the books on my wishlist (currently 11). Can't really justify such a spend.

sep 26, 10:37 am

Had it in my cart - $1622 (US) with taxes and shipping. Just couldn’t do it. I have 16-17 of the Letterpress Shakespeare - while I doubt I will collect all of them I decided to stick with them - also concerned about getting oil marks on the covers from my fingers over time if I am not careful - the fear of that plus the size of the books themselves doesn’t lend itself to a nice reading experience for myself - so as beautiful as they are and as much as I’d love to have them on my shelf I can’t justify the expenditure.

sep 26, 10:38 am

So people don't worrie about fading silk anymore ?

sep 26, 10:46 am

>272 Ragnaroek: I do. I have the Madame Bovary LE, and it seems to be holding up well, at least so far. My hope is that, in the long term, simply keeping it and the Shakespeare LE out of direct sunlight will mitigate the risk of fading and degradation.

Redigerat: sep 26, 10:52 am

>273 CJDelDotto:
I'm not a fan of the Slipcase. ( it's wonderfully made, but I prefer singel Slipcases for each book or clamshells)

What really funny is, that Beowulf costs 600£ and Shakespeare 1000£. What went wrong here 😔

sep 26, 10:54 am

I think the slipcase is gorgeous, myself. The only quibble I have with the set is that I was hoping for three stand-alone frameable prints (one each for the comedies, histories, and tragedies) akin to the three prints that came with the LE of Dante's Divine Comedy a couple years ago. I really admire Neil Packer's art, and the omission of such prints in this set feels like a lost opportunity.

sep 26, 10:56 am

>249 Shadekeep: I would second Throne of Blood and would also suggest Theatre of Blood which is not an adaptation of Shakespeare as such but is a hilariously camp and hammy tale of a deranged Shakesperean actor (Vincent Price) and his bloody revenge on various critics (a wonderful cast of British thespians) who have given him bad reviews.

Redigerat: sep 26, 11:39 am

>275 CJDelDotto: I was thinking about this yesterday and actually completely forgot about it today until you mentioned it, but yes, I was also disappointed that we didn't get an art print with this set! (I would've been happy with just one, and certainly would have loved three.)

EDIT: I realize I'm not too bothered though because the inner slipcase artwork is probably the alternative to the print, and I think a thin print folder would be much more easily damaged in a multi-book slipcase like this.

>276 Cat_of_Ulthar: 😂

sep 26, 11:17 am

>277 BooksFriendsNotFood: I'm considering reaching out to Neil Packer online in order to gauge whether he'd be willing to create something bespoke (for which I'd be happy to pay). After all, he's already basically created all of the art. It just needs to be...compiled (if that's the right word) and printed on some high-qualty paper.

Redigerat: sep 26, 11:22 am

>278 CJDelDotto: That's awesome! I really hope he'll be able to create some custom prints for you!

Redigerat: sep 26, 11:49 am

>272 Ragnaroek: I have The Pillow Book with silk cover, but it's black silk, so less of a worry about things showing on it. Fading/sunning is still a potential issue, and the sunned copies I've seen have a tendency to go purple.

>276 Cat_of_Ulthar: Agree on just about anything with Price in it. Masque of the Red Death is especially excellent, and in Theatre of Blood he's channeling some of the same energy he brought to Dr. Phibes. Creative vengeance for the win.

sep 26, 12:21 pm

>265 cronshaw: Nothing will supplant my Folio (letterpress!) Rainbow series, one volume per play and the perfect reading size.

That's my opinion too, though I still lust after the leatherbound special edition, which I think is truly beautiful. The last time I saw that on eBay it was over £1000, iirc.

sep 26, 12:47 pm

>279 BooksFriendsNotFood: He sells some prints on his website. Curious if there’s a market for his Shakespeare prints beyond a one-off. I’d love to have one (or, if by play, a few) to hang in my library. If you do reach out, you can mention that there is broader interest. Love his work. Great idea.

sep 26, 12:48 pm

>281 folio_books: Interesting. I don't ever remember seeing a leatherbound special edition of that series.

sep 26, 12:53 pm

I wish they'd made the LOTR slipcase as robust as this one looks to be.

I like them being slipcased rather than boxed, I prefer to see my books on the shelf. And I'm also a fan of the decent page size of the edition.

Redigerat: sep 26, 1:12 pm

I've just received an e-mail informing me that 400 copies have now been sold. That's positively flying off the shelves for an edition at this price.

>284 EdmundRodriguez: I agree. Solander boxes generally look dull in a library. Give me beautifully bound spines any day.

Redigerat: sep 26, 2:09 pm

>286 assemblyman: Ah thank you! I remember that set now, very smart :)

sep 26, 1:32 pm

>286 assemblyman:
>287 cronshaw:

I've spent an hour or so looking for a photo, which I knew I had. Just found it, then realised I've forgotten how to upload pictures! Duh.

Anyway, that's the set I meant. Thanks, Brendan. If I figure out how to upload pics again I'll upload the one I have, which is taken from the prospectus.

sep 26, 2:27 pm

>288 folio_books: >288 folio_books: No problem Glenn. It gives me another excuse to look at it. Beautiful set. I’ve always intended to get the standard set of this. I love the Ann Murray paper sides on that one. An underrated set.

sep 26, 4:18 pm

>269 L.Bloom: Here in the antipodes, it's nudging $2500 with postage. Strewth!

sep 26, 5:10 pm

I yielded to temptation and placed my order. It looks like a great set but I hesitated, not so much because of the regrettably high price (which fortunately, or perhaps foolishly, I can absorb) but because of the black silk (susceptible to fading) on white linen (susceptible to yellowing and soiling). My books are kept in a blackout room, so fading and yellowing should not be much of a problem, but I don't know what can be done about my greasy fingers. Wearing gloves would destroy the tactile pleasure of reading these books and I would feel foolish acting as if I were reading an actual copy of the First Folio.

Redigerat: sep 26, 6:11 pm

>291 amp123:

These are interesting observations and quite rightly so, given the expense to which one may go to acquire a volume of choice. But it does beg the question: to what degree does one pitch to, in order to facilitate an ongoing pristine folio?

At either end of the spectrum, from the insouciant care free approach where we might see such a volume bathing on a patio coffee table in full sun, nudging shoulders with a Pimm's and an ashtray, to the collector on tenterhooks who has deposited his volume in a cool dry dark nook in his abode, and might be expected to inspect it perhaps about a dozen times in his lifetime, and that in fleeting moments.

sep 26, 6:35 pm

There was much discussion before today about who really does a £1,000 edition of yet another Shakespeare publication appeal to. I imagine the question was somewhat rhetorical and somewhat literal, but it seems to have hit the mark quite well.

sep 26, 8:55 pm

>292 LesMiserables: I think I would probably be closer to the middle of the spectrum. I actually intend to read them and throw caution to the wind by reading them in the daylight and doing so bare handed. I just won't be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the same. However, when they're slumbering on my bookshelf, I'll treat them like vampires. I really hate sunned spines.

sep 26, 9:07 pm

Out of curiosity, is it just the sun that's bad for books, or also artificial indoor lights?

sep 26, 10:11 pm

>295 BooksFriendsNotFood:
Fluorescent lamps produce significant amounts of UV radiation.

sep 26, 10:56 pm

I signed up for email updates about this release and never received a single one. I see that it’s been released now, but outside of my price range.

sep 27, 2:36 am

No note has yet appeared saying so, but it appears that over half the limitation has now sold.

sep 27, 5:23 am

>298 PeterFitzGerald:

There's now a note on the webpage: "Over half sold."

sep 27, 5:43 am

>1 owf_117: Hi all. Yes, about the FS email etc. announcing the LE Shakespeare…. :-) Note the bit by Dame Judi Dench. Look closely at her phrasing. Muse on the hidden message inadvertantly being promulgated by good ol’ FS in broadcasting such as is. Beware (be wary) of her exact wording: “I have NEVER been given anything so special as this copy…”. For the rest of us mortals and financially modest, I would direct you to please note — and Dame Judi to please consider shifting her ALL CAPS emphasis — as follows: ‘I have never been GIVEN anything so special…’. Ah ha. Given. Not bought. Not paid for. Given. Received. Gifted with. Fair enough, inasmuch as Dame Judi has contributed via her forward. Nice. My concern is not with Dame Judi. Though the attribution does rub a bit the wrong way as a result, imho. Rather, my concern is for the rest of us, we mortals and financially modest. As in, I too would NEVER be given anything so special. Sigh. More the point, I would NEVER be able to afford something so special, not without refraining from food, rent, other basic needs. Certainly not at the price point which FS has released thus. To buyers, that is. Not to giftees. Sigh. Perhaps there’s hope. Dame Judi tells she has many copies of Shakespeare’s plays in her house. Perhaps she may be open to GIVING one of these many to me, or one to one the many ‘rest of us.’ Or many to many of us. Or: FS giving “gifting” discounts. Or FS giving back possibility of payment in instalments, so that extravagant pricing may become more within reach of mere mortals and financially modest. Otherwise it’s back to hope and a prayer — which haven’t quite worked out yet. Just sayin’. D

sep 27, 6:29 am

>300 Denis_P:

I expect a copy of the finished book, perhaps more than one copy, will have been included as part of Dame Judi's recompense for providing the Foreword. Nice job if you can get it, to be sure, but understandably the condition for getting such opportunities is having spent a lifetime acquiring the sort of reputation that will make the book a more desirable commodity to prospective purchasers. Yes, life's unfair...

sep 27, 6:46 am

I was reading in 'The Times' newspaper last night an article about why Shakespeare's play 'Two Noble Kinsman' was excluded from The First Folio. It then for no obvious reason added the following puff for The Folio Society:

"Meanwhile, another Shakespearean rare book is hitting the market. The Folio Society has released 1,000 copies of a new edition of The Complete Works, with introductions by Dame Judi Dench and Gregory Doran, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The limited editions went on sale on Tuesday."

Just might have helped the Society's sales of this set a little.

sep 27, 6:52 am

>301 terebinth: I agree and I'm sure Gregory Doran and Neil Packer also received one.

sep 27, 6:54 am

>301 terebinth:

I would have thought a foreword postscript or two on the Bond series would have been more fitting.

Redigerat: sep 27, 9:29 am

>300 Denis_P: It's perfectly normal for someone who has contributed in some significant way to the production of a Folio edition to receive a free copy as part of their recompense. There was even a Devotee who once received a free copy of a limited edition simply because he had suggested that title to Folio and that they publish it a certain way (The Sound and the Fury with coloured text) - you could always try that route if you feel you're not being apportioned your fair share of gifts :)

Regarding the all-caps emphasis, it would have been surprising if J.D. had said that her copy was the most beautiful edition of Shakespeare she had ever BOUGHT!

P.S. Don't research the freebies received by the Royal Family, you'll go apoplectic.

sep 27, 8:27 am

>297 Mr.Fox: Likewise. I've not been receiving any emails either.

Redigerat: sep 27, 11:28 am

>288 folio_books:
>289 assemblyman:

Retrieved how to upload pic. This is the Prospectus pic I refered to above >288 folio_books:

sep 27, 11:05 am

>296 Jayked: Thanks!

sep 27, 11:16 am

>307 folio_books: Also £1,000! Though obviously a lot more than that in today's unsterling pounds.

sep 27, 11:26 am

>309 cronshaw: >307 folio_books: That's £3,430.76 in todays money. Gorgeous though. This would be the easy winner if I had to choose between this and the current release.

sep 27, 11:32 am

>309 cronshaw: This would be the easy winner if I had to choose between this and the current release.

Absolutely. I'd willingly part with £1000 for a copy of this one now. At the time the price was just laughable and way, way beyond my means.

sep 27, 11:34 am

Wow, that six volume leather set is beautiful.

sep 27, 12:52 pm

Does look pleasing, but https://pics.cdn.librarything.com//picsizes/99/ad/99ad974cd665b47637466723267426... only set me back £130 and I wouldn't be tempted to swap.

sep 27, 3:47 pm

>307 folio_books: Thank you for sharing! For $1500 (cost for USA patrons) I would absolutely consider that gorgeous edition and I'm curious if that beautiful wooden slipcase was included? This current edition (which pales in comparison in my opinion) is an easy pass for me. Although apparently it is selling very well.

sep 27, 4:33 pm

>314 astropi:

Yes the price included the bookcase. None of your cardboard rubbish! ;)

sep 27, 4:47 pm

>315 folio_books: That looks stunning and certainly a keeper. I'd imagine it is one of your finest books in your vast Folio collection. As >314 astropi: states I would purchase your edition if it were anywhere close to what the current LE costs without hesitation and looks like one of the best recent Shakespeare sets I've laid eyes on.

sep 27, 6:43 pm

>299 folio_books:

And now a “low stock” counter as well. Currently 446 remaining.

sep 27, 8:30 pm

>307 folio_books: Beautiful production and illustrations much more to my liking, by the look of things.

sep 27, 9:20 pm

>314 astropi: That book would cost almost $5k when you factor inflation. It doesn’t make sense to ignore that.

sep 27, 10:53 pm

sep 28, 12:18 am

>307 folio_books:
These sets are as rare as hen's teeth on the secondary market as very few sets were published.

sep 28, 1:56 am

>288 folio_books: I've spent an hour or so looking for a photo...

Fear not! Here are some photos from the Folio Society Special Bindings thread:

sep 28, 4:30 am

>307 folio_books:
Gorgeous. The sort of production FS used to excel at, even when using 'lesser' materials. But I'd go out on a limb for that one!

sep 28, 5:57 am

>316 Joshbooks1: I'd imagine it is one of your finest books in your vast Folio collection

Sadly, the closest I came to ever owning it was the Prospectus. Couldn't afford it at the time and as >321 wcarter: says, they're exceedingly rare on the secondary market.

sep 29, 12:27 pm

>282 Fortinbras1601: I'd be interested in prints, too, if Packer is willing. I just got my copy of the set today and the artwork is lovely.

sep 29, 12:34 pm

>284 EdmundRodriguez: This one is solid. It sounds like wood when I knock on it but I can't be entirely sure because it's all covered in silk and paper and I'm not going to start stripping it to check!

This is what I wish the LoTR case was like.

sep 29, 12:56 pm

>310 assemblyman: 'That's £3,430.76 in todays money.'

Indeed. Lovely but ouch, ouch, ouch. No wonder they didn't make many of them.

'This would be the easy winner if I had to choose between this and the current release.'

If you have the money and can find one of them up for grabs, fill your boots :-)

sep 29, 12:57 pm

sep 29, 1:03 pm

>322 mr.philistine: post 48 et seq, for anybody interested.

Me, I got rather distracted by the Radcliffe boxset, that is beautiful. :-)

sep 29, 5:05 pm

>328 Cat_of_Ulthar:

Thanks. There doesn't seem to be an exactly similar set available anywhere, but the same binders, Hatchards, produced this version of a printing from two years later of the same Eversley edition:


A completely different binding but of the same quality, slightly foxed but still desirable, for about the price of the new Folio set (rather less if the buyer is in the USA). I just got lucky with mine.

okt 1, 8:12 am

>267 BooksFriendsNotFood: 'I hope it comes with one of those Murakami bookmarks lol.'

Yup. It did. Rather nice although it's not the most stunning example of Folio ephemera ;-)

okt 1, 11:46 am

>331 Cat_of_Ulthar: Yay! I'm happy to hear it ◡̈

okt 1, 1:54 pm

The ticker on the page for the LE now indicates that 333 copies are left. So, two-thirds have now been sold, which seems to me like a pretty good rate of sale for such an expensive item.

okt 1, 2:41 pm

>334 CJDelDotto: Indeed. I probably only have a week or so to win the lottery.

okt 1, 10:13 pm

Received my copy today. Whenever I get a package from FS I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. This package did not disappoint. In fact, I've never had buyer's remorse from a FS purchase, although I'm more selective lately given the recent trends in FS selection, price and sometimes quality. I haven't examined all three volumes closely yet, but so far I'm very impressed about every aspect of the production. I just wish the illustrator would have attempted his take on the Droeshout portrait of Willy and included it as a frontispiece to the volumes, as a tribute to the 400th anniversary.

okt 2, 9:39 am

That's neat, I just found out that Katie Beard from Rooksmoor Press produced the limitation label for this LE.


Redigerat: okt 2, 4:49 pm

I received my copy today and let out a good half-minute long wail because I secured my order at least seven minutes before the book was even officially released and yet I got a copy in the 400s. 😭

The presentation/look of the set is amazing though! It's HUGE - it takes me a few tries to successfully pick up the heavy boxed set lol - and it looks so beautiful. It's certainly a showstopper. The illustrations are beyond lovely and they're definitely one of the main reasons to buy this set imo because the font is quite small; it's clearly laid out and readable - and I will certainly be using this set to read all of the plays I haven't gotten to yet - but I would've been disappointed if I had bought this with my heart set on good-sized text. I also find the look of the binding interesting: I personally probably won't worry about fading too much because while the black silk looks, well, black, from about a foot away or when viewed at an angle (e.g. like when it's laid flat on the table in front of you), if you stick it up in front of your face it looks verrrry light, almost faded. It feels kind of like a lenticular effect of sorts.

Also, I'm happy to report that a Murakami bookmark was secured. ヅ

okt 2, 6:38 pm

>338 BooksFriendsNotFood: I ordered mine about 3 hours after it went on sale and got number 409, which would be about right if they shipped numbers based upon priority of order placement. But the fact that you ordered much earlier but also ended up with a number in the 400s shows that the timing of the order has no effect on what number they ship. I personally don't care what number I get but many collectors do and you would think FS would realize this and make a better effort to avoid disappointing those customers.

Still a showstopper as you said (and a doorstopper, and a toe breaker if dropped).

okt 2, 7:27 pm

I received my copy today. I ordered my copy at 8:57 a.m. U.S. Eastern time last Tuesday, and mine is numbered 110, which made me laugh.

okt 2, 8:16 pm

>339 amp123: FS said no way does the early bird get the worm XD

"...and a toe breaker if dropped"

My toe just shuddered imagining it!

>340 CJDelDotto: Lucky! I received my order confirmation at 8:53am EST and I feel like I'm being punished haha.

I'm glad you got a reasonably low number though as I know you were very excited about the set!

okt 2, 8:41 pm

I also got mine today, and ordered just a couple of minutes after it went live. I'm happy with #77. Usually I don't get lower numbers from Folio Society since I agree that they ship somewhat randomly.

These are beautiful volumes. I've only looked through them a bit, but the illustrations are very nice, and obviously pair well with his Dante set. I can't tell if the slipcase is made from a light wood or a heave cardboard, but it feels very solid.

okt 3, 9:49 am

A question concerning the physical build of this LE: as there isn't a sliding ledge for the books to sit on in the slipcase à la Faerie Queene that would allow their removal without the bottom edges of the boards rubbing against the bottom of the case, is there some quality in the material covering the base of the box that would appear to permit relatively friction-free rubbing? I ask not as a potential buyer (despite choosing my numbers with utmost care I didn't win the lottery this week and I am not willing to sell £1000 of flesh) but just out of general bibilophilic interest: the potential for easy wear along the bottom edges of the boards of each volume would be my biggest concern with this set.

With a regular Folio edition with a paper or soft cloth (as opposed to buckram) cover I avoid rub wear by placing the spine of any book in its slipcase facing vertically downwards in my lap, then removing the slipcase vertically upwards; there's then virtually no friction at all. But it's a technique one clearly can't apply to this set.

okt 3, 12:32 pm

>343 cronshaw: I'm not sure if this answers your question well but I don't believe there's much friction when removing the books from the slipcase: I use all my muscle strength to slightly tip the slipcase and all three books immediately come sliding out.

I assume that any rubbing would be similar to sliding books on and off a bookshelf.

okt 3, 12:59 pm

>343 cronshaw: If you were worried about friction then you could always put a sheet of archival Mylar in the bottom of the slipcase.

okt 3, 1:49 pm

>343 cronshaw:
When I see a book advertised on the secondary market “as new” or “never read,” I know it hasn’t been loved as it should have been. A book isn’t like a painting that might hang on the wall for centuries and never show wear. A book is intended to be handled and read page by page, perhaps multiple times. Of course, it will show some rubbing and perhaps light scratches or smudges, all signs that Shakespeare is still alive in his works.

okt 3, 1:57 pm

I spoke too soon in my earlier post. The artist's rendition of the Droeshout portrait does appear. It's opposite the limitation page in the first volume. Nicely done, but much smaller than the original.

As to numbers, the only number that would matter to me would be 400. I missed it by only nine digits.

Redigerat: okt 3, 3:09 pm

>344 BooksFriendsNotFood: That's very good to hear, thanks. It sounds as though Folio took care to use a bottom layer that is relatively frictionless.

>345 ubiquitousuk: Excellent idea!

>346 jroger1: Indeed. I regret many of my Folio purchases are still in 'as new' condition because I simply haven't got round to reading them yet. Though I fully intend to impart a degree of wear to all of them eventually, I will always take care to handle them as respectfully as possible so they show far less wear than I do, no matter how often loved and handled.

I'd also argue however that an unread book sitting on the shelf performs a daily function of inspiration: though there are numerous books on my shelves I've not yet read, their sitting patiently full of promise lifts my mood every time I look at them.

okt 3, 2:33 pm

>341 BooksFriendsNotFood: Thank you! Incidentally, I've uploaded several pictures of the set on my IG (handle: cjdeldotto).

okt 3, 3:15 pm

>349 CJDelDotto: Your "nice" shelf is lovely! My Shakespeare is also next to Dante, but on the other side I have Hitchhiker's haha.

okt 4, 8:12 am

I'm re-reading Henry IV, Part 1 in the LE (I figured I should wait at least one play before delving into the giant tragedy/romance volume, and I had just finished Richard II over ebook after being inspired by >246 ubiquitousuk:) and this is absolutely my favorite Shakespeare edition. Between the blackwork-inspired binding, the gunmetal gilded edges, flipping backwards to stare at the beautiful illustration, and even finding the small font "cute", I am a very happy reader.

okt 5, 8:31 am

Nice bit of Shakespeareana here: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/oct/05/boards-trodden-by-shakespeare-fo...

I could see exposing these timbers and then covering them in museum grade plexiglass, so that people can see them and walk on them without causing damage.

okt 12, 11:37 pm

FS, take a bow! This is the best FS LE (and I own lots of them) and definitely the best Shakespeare set that I do own. Super heavy, but it’s absolutely breathtaking. I got #38 and I ordered within the first 2 minutes.

Redigerat: okt 13, 12:30 am

>353 Neil77: Agree! I went back and forth about ordering, but now that it's here I am poring over all the beautiful details with joy.

I even considered getting a second one to pass down to each of my kids. This set is truly special.

okt 13, 4:41 am

These appreciative comments just show what The Folio Society can do when they focus on publishing the classics of Literature, History and other important subjects.

okt 13, 5:09 am

>355 English-bookseller: I had a different interpretation that this shows Folio's continued strength in design and materials when they choose to actually put in the effort; there's no reason why they can't give this much attention to non-classics that are just as in demand for something that is exceptional than just making a generic looking cloth bound volume with the main selling point being a dull author's signature that isn't even signed on the page itself. There's understandably some recent criticism over Folio's branching out into genre fiction and neglecting classics but this LE also quite clearly shows where Folio puts in their A-game.

okt 13, 5:26 am

>356 wongie:

They've done some excellent editions outside the classics - as much as I enjoyed some of those. That being said, when there's almost no difference except for the signature, that is disappointing.

okt 13, 11:54 am

I purchased this for my wife's birthday coming in two more days. I want so much to open that box early. Why couldn't she have been born earlier?

okt 13, 11:58 am

>358 Forthwith: You have a nice wife! Mine would divorce me :)

okt 13, 1:42 pm

>358 Forthwith: 😂 This reminds me of that one year I got confused between UK Mother's Day and US Mother's Day and consequently purchased my gift 1-2 months too early. (This is the drawback of receiving Waterstones emails in the US lol.) I'm still surprised I maintained my patience and handed it over to my mum on the correct date.

I hope your wife loves her gift!

okt 13, 4:14 pm

>358 Forthwith: "I purchased this for my wife's birthday..." reminds me of this.

nov 12, 2:47 pm

>65 ubiquitousuk:
Down the river acquired!

nov 15, 9:07 pm

Down to 28 copies. Finally broke down and purchased a set.

nov 15, 9:43 pm

>363 vmb443: Congrats, it is a magical set.

nov 16, 12:07 am

>363 vmb443: Down to 24 now - will it survive Thursday or will people’s FOMO set in ?!

nov 16, 7:56 am

Currently at 15 left.

Redigerat: nov 16, 8:14 am

Perhaps re-sellers are rushing to grab a few copies now.

nov 16, 10:36 am

Yep--down to 11. It wouldn't surprise me if today is the last day.

nov 16, 12:42 pm

One copy left. FEEL THE FOMO.

nov 16, 12:53 pm

>369 cronshaw: Is the opposite of FOMO NOMO (Necessity Of Missing Out)? Because I really need to not buy this for a lot of reasons.

Redigerat: nov 17, 2:28 am

All gone.

>370 Shadekeep: It could be! Or perhaps ERMO (extremely relaxed missing out). My happy possession of Folio's original letterpress Shakespeare 37-volume 'rainbow' series fully insulated me from the heat of FOMO angst here.

nov 16, 1:47 pm

>371 cronshaw: My happy possession of Folio's original letterpress Shakespeare 37-volume 'rainbow' series fully insulated me from the heat of FOMO angst here.

Me too. Plus, if I really wanted to spend £1000 on a FS Shakespeare LE I'd have chosen the one I mentioned earlier >307 folio_books:

nov 16, 3:39 pm

Gone in about seven weeks, then: that seems just about ideal to me, everyone had a while to reflect on whether they wanted it, the FS hasn't had to wait long to recoup its investment, and anybody minded to sell in the near future is unlikely to be out of pocket. As usual lately I'm just a casual observer, very happy in this instance that my £1000 went a few years ago on the LEC edition.

nov 16, 7:04 pm

Just received my copy - it’s spectacular. I waited a long time before ordering, wasn’t sure if it was worth the price, but it is - it’s magnificent. Way to go Folio!

Redigerat: nov 17, 9:07 am

>371 cronshaw:
>372 folio_books:

Fully agree. The "rainbow" set is one on the very best Shakespeare editions. The only "defect" I found was the use of plain cardboard slip cases. I threw them away, and now the spines shine in glorious colour.

nov 17, 10:38 am

>375 drasvola:

And it's maybe worth pointing out, for the benefit of newer collectors, that the earlier editions of the Folio Shakespeare didn't have slipcases, just the dustjacket. I actually preferred those djs to the early slipcases, which rarely stand up well to the ravages of time. Quite shoddy in comparison with those from the seventies and onwards, as a general rule.

nov 23, 8:16 am

9 copies have appeared on the FS site if anyone regretted not buying it.

Redigerat: nov 23, 5:59 pm

>377 assemblyman: Strange. I am curious as to what goes on here. Have buyers returned these books for whatever reason (including minor faults) or have they never left the FS premises? Anyone have some insight?

nov 23, 6:03 pm

My (uninformed) guess is that they set aside part of the print run for special comp copies to various special parties, and these are the copies they have left that they didn't comp.

nov 23, 6:51 pm

>378 Pendrainllwyn: On Twitter they said they have some copies available due to canceled orders.

nov 24, 2:49 pm

Shakespeare LE stayed on 7 until late last night USA EST. It now shows “SOLD OUT”. My son brought my set when gathering for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m looking forward to exploring my early Christmas gift.

dec 4, 6:53 pm

>1 owf_117: It is absolutely stunning. So glad I got a copy (900 of 1000).