Shakespeare Folio Found In French Library

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A rare Shakespeare first folio has been discovered in a small town library in France. It has become known as “the most important book in English literature”!

The book, discovered by librarians, was found in Saint-Omer near Calais and had not been touched for 200 years.

The folio has 36 of Shakespeare’s known plays. The book was printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. People are saying that the book is why his literacy legacy survived. It is the only remaining copy of 18 of the plays in there!

s2“The work has several pages missing including the title page,” quoted librarian Remy Cordonnier.

Mr Cordonnier told BBC News that he did not realise how significant his find was. “I did not instantly recognise the book as a book of value; it had been heavily used and was damaged. It had seen better days,” he said.

An expert on Shakespeare from the University of Nevada, who happened to be visiting the British Library, was contacted. Not surprisingly, they were very interested! The member of staff told the New York Times, “This is huge!”

Mr. Cordonnier told the BBC: “It was very emotional to realise we had a copy of one of the most famous books in the world.”

The book has a few handwritten notes and these might show us how the plays were performed at the time of Shakespeare.

One of the handwritten notes about the play ‘Henry IV’ referred to changing “hostess to “host” and “wench” to “fellow”- suggesting the actor was the other gender.

This book is a truly amazing discovery and is an important link to the past.


Georgia, Year 7

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar, Alford

2 Responses to Shakespeare Folio Found In French Library

  1. admin February 22, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    An amazing story, Georgia. (It’d be great if the French library allow the book to tour the UK, rather like Lincoln Cathedral allow its copy of the Magna Carta to leave Lincoln Castle and ‘tour’ overseas for others to marvel at.)

    YJA Senior Editor

  2. Emily February 23, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    WOW Georgia! Great article!