"Shakespeare & The Book" exhibition Extended through March 11th, 2002


Shakespeare & The Book
Exhibition at the Rare Books and Manuscript Library

(Update - March 12, 2002)
View the Shakespeare & The Book exhibition on-line.

"Shakespeare & The Book", an exhibition showing a wealth of material related to literature and the English theater from Shakespeare's day and throughout the 17th century, will be on view December 6, 2001 through March 1, 2002 at the Kempner Gallery of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 6th Floor, of the Butler Library, on the Columbia campus.

The exhibit "Shakespeare & The Book" is in response to the book of the same name by David Scott Kastan, Columbia Professor of English and Comparative Literature, just published by the Cambridge University Press. The exhibit draws heavily on the spectacular collection of English and American literature formed by Jack Harris Samuels, and bequeathed to the library by the collector's mother, Mollie Harris Samuels, in 1970.

The exhibition is divided into six sections: Shakespeare's Books / Shakespeare's Age; Pre-First Folio Drama and Printers; The First Folio Era (1616-1630); The Second Folio Era (1630-1650); The Third Folio Era (1650-1680); and The Fourth Folio Era (1680-1700).

The backbone of the exhibit is formed by the Columbia's four folio editions of Shakespeare's Works that were printed during the 17th century: in 1623, 1632, 1663 and 1685. Among the rarities from the Samuels Collection on display are: the first edition of Lady Elizabeth Carew's The Tragedie of Mariam, The Faire Queene of Jewry, (London, 1613) the first printed play written by an Englishwoman; the first edition of Christopher Marlowe's Jew of Malta (London, 1633); and the edition of Shakespeare's The chronicle history of Henry the fift (London, 1608 [1619]) printed without authority by William Jaggard and Thomas Pavier, one of a number of Shakespeare plays that they printed in 1619, but backdated so that it could be safely sold as old stock.

One particularly important book is Thomas D'Urfey's The comical history of Don Quixote, (London, 1694-1696). Also from the Samuels Collection is the first edition of Naham Tate's revision of Shakespeare's King Lear, (London, 1681). Other important items in the exhibit are: the fourth collected edition of the works of Aphra Behn (London, 1700); the first printing of John Dryden's Alexander's feast; or, the power of musique. An ode, in honour of St. Cecilia's Day (London, 1697); a copy of the Geneva Bible, the translation used by Shakespeare, in the first edition printed in 1560; and "Shakespeare's Ovid," the translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses published under Arthur Golding's name (London, 1593).

In conjunction with the exhibition, David Scott Kastan will deliver the Annual Book Arts Lecture entitled "Shakespeare & The Book," on Tuesday, January 22, 2002 at 6:00. The place is to be arranged, and will be followed by a reception in the the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. Please check our web site for further information.

The works on exhibition are drawn from the collections of The Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which is home to over 600,000 rare books in some 20 book collections, as well as 26 million manuscripts. Special exhibitions from the collections are held year round and are free and open to the public.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is open Monday 12:00-4:45pm (until 7:45pm on December 10) and Tuesday - Friday 9:00-4:45pm. Please check our web site for further information and directions: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/index.html

For more information, please contact:

    Jennifer B. Lee
    Rare Book & Manuscript Library
    Columbia University
    (212) 854-4048