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Early Shakespeare editions are on view through June 8 in the Wilson Special Collections Library. The Rare Book Collection will display the Second, Third, and Fourth Folio collections of the bard’s plays.

The rare showing is part of the exhibition Nature and the Unnatural in Shakespeare’s Age. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, examines tensions between the natural and artificial world in the imagination during the age of Shakespeare.

The Second Folio was printed in 1632 as a response to high demand for the First Folio. It compiled thirty-six plays and a new prefatory poem by a young John Milton.

The 1663 Third Folio (reprinted in 1664), and the 1685 Fourth Folio each contain seven additional plays attributed to Shakespeare. Of the seven, only Pericles continues to be sanctioned as part of the playwright’s canon.

Along with the folios, visitors will find sixteenth- and seventeenth-century books published in England and on the European continent. These include:

  • herbals, natural histories, and travel accounts;
  • works on cosmetics and agriculture; and
  • magic and witchcraft treatises.

Read more.

Published May 9, 2012.