First Folio Road Trip

Episodes

First
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
2016042420170724

From London to Kent, Oxford, the Scottish borders, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and across the channel to France, Emma Smith takes a road trip to learn more about how Shakespeare's First Folio helped create the Shakespeare we know and love today.

We take it for granted now that Shakespeare is our national poet, and his First Folio almost a religious relic, but it wasn't always so. Emma follows the story of seven of the 750 original copies of the First Folio to learn how Shakespeare's work spread across Britain and Europe, and how his reputation expanded in the hundred odd years between its publication in 1623 and the erection of his statue in Westminster Abbey in 1741.

She learns about Sir Edward Dering, a shopaholic young nobleman from Kent, the first documented purchaser of a First Folio, which he bought along with a scarlet suits, a pot of marmalade and a present for his baby son.

She hears about two real-life star-crossed lovers, Thomas and Isabella Hervey, from Ickworth in Suffolk, and examines the signatures they wrote in every copy of their shared library, including a First Folio.

She shares a hollow laugh with the current librarian of the Bodleian Library, which acquired a First Folio and then sold it.

She travels to St Omer in Northern France to see the most recently rediscovered copy and learn about the English Catholic schoolboys who may have performed extracts from it there.

Having viewed a range of First Folios (see related links for examples on display across the UK) Emma considers the spread outwards of Shakespeare's reputation and inwards, deep into our lives.

Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College Oxford and the author of a new book on the First Folio.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

From London to Kent, Oxford, the Scottish borders, Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and across the channel to France, Emma Smith takes a road trip to learn more about how Shakespeare's First Folio helped create the Shakespeare we know and love today.

We take it for granted now that Shakespeare is our national poet, and his First Folio almost a religious relic, but it wasn't always so. Emma follows the story of seven of the 750 original copies of the First Folio to learn how Shakespeare's work spread across Britain and Europe, and how his reputation expanded in the hundred odd years between its publication in 1623 and the erection of his statue in Westminster Abbey in 1741.

She learns about Sir Edward Dering, a shopaholic young nobleman from Kent, the first documented purchaser of a First Folio, which he bought along with a scarlet suits, a pot of marmalade and a present for his baby son.

She hears about two real-life star-crossed lovers, Thomas and Isabella Hervey, from Ickworth in Suffolk, and examines the signatures they wrote in every copy of their shared library, including a First Folio.

She shares a hollow laugh with the current librarian of the Bodleian Library, which acquired a First Folio and then sold it.

She travels to St Omer in Northern France to see the most recently rediscovered copy and learn about the English Catholic schoolboys who may have performed extracts from it there.

Having viewed a range of First Folios (see related links for examples on display across the UK) Emma considers the spread outwards of Shakespeare's reputation and inwards, deep into our lives.

Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College Oxford and the author of a new book on the First Folio.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.