By Kenneth Jones, 07 Nov 2008
The Globe Theatre in London has been named the sole beneficiary of hundreds of classic texts, including works by William Shakespeare, bequeathed by American collector John Wolfson, The Guardian reported. The collection includes a copy of the first folio, the earliest collection of Shakespeare’s plays, published after his death, plus second, third and fourth editions of the folio, according to the paper. Plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries are also said to be in the mix. Wolfson’s donation will be made after his death.
About 230 first folios are extant; less than 1,000 were printed. It was published in 1623, seven years after the death of the playwright. Sotheby’s set a British auction house record in 2006 when it sold one for £2.8 million. The bequest also boasts works by Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton and John Ford, and more. It is reportedly worth millions of pounds.
Wolfson is a New York-based collector of antiquarian books, including texts of early plays. He is also a playwright whose works include The Lives of Bosie, about Oscar Wilde’s object of desire, Lord Alfred Douglas, Midsummer Night Trip and The Pants That Won the West.
According to the Guardian, Wolfson said: «What happens to most collections, unfortunately, is that they get broken up. Having witnessed the break up of many collections, I consider myself fortunate to have found a place for my books at Shakespeare’s Globe. Here it will be possible for the collection, which I have put together, to remain together, and to be used to great advantage by students, scholars and educators for generations to come.»
Treasure … The First folio of the 1623 edition Shakespeare’s Complete Works, sold at Sotheby’s in 2006. Photograph: Martin Argles
A prized collection of texts by William Shakespeare has been pledged to the Globe theatre in London, it was announced today. The theatre has been named the sole beneficiary of more than 450 works, bequeathed by American collector John Wolfson.
The collection includes a copy of the first folio, the earliest collection of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as second, third and fourth editions of the folio.
Published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, at least 750 first folios were printed, of which only about 230 are known to be in existence. The book is valuable from a theatrical point of view because it included 18 plays that have otherwise disappeared, and copies have grown increasingly expensive in recent years: Sotheby’s set a British auction house record in 2006, when it sold one for £2.8m. The world’s largest collection of first folios is kept at the Folger Library in Washington, which owns no fewer than 79.
Wolfson’s donation, to be made after his death, also includes a multi-million-pound selection of works by Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton and John Ford, among others.
New York-based Wolfson has himself written plays, some of which have won local awards in the US, although he is little-known in the UK. He began buying antiquarian books and early play texts in the early 1970s. The Globe was unable to confirm Wolfson’s age, but he is believed to be in his 50s.
It seems interesting that the one British venue where Wolfson’s work has been produced is at Shakespeare’s Globe. The Inn at Lydda, which concerns a meeting between Tiberius Caesar and Jesus Christ, was presented as part of the theatre’s Read Not Dead series and subsequently on BBC radio in 1999.
Wolfson said: «What happens to most collections, unfortunately, is that they get broken up. Having witnessed the break up of many collections, I consider myself fortunate to have found a place for my books at Shakespeare’s Globe. Here it will be possible for the collection, which I have put together, to remain together, and to be used to great advantage by students, scholars and educators for generations to come.»
The Globe’s chief executive, Peter Kyle, said that he was «delighted and privileged» by the gift. It is believed that it will boost the Globe’s fundraising campaign to build a new library, enabling it to store and provide access to its collection of rare texts.
Σπάνιες εκδόσεις έργων του Σέξπιρ
Αμερικανός συλλέκτης πρόκειται να δωρίσει σπάνιες πρώτες εκδόσεις έργων του Ουίλιαμ Σέξπιρ στο θέατρο Globe του Λονδίνου, που εξειδικεύεται σε παραστάσεις έργων του μεγάλου δημιουργού. Ο θεατρικός συγγραφέας Τζον Γούλφσον υποσχέθηκε ότι μετά το θάνατό του θα δωρίσει στο θέατρο 450 σπάνια έργα, ανάμεσά τους και μια πλήρη πρώτη έκδοση των Απάντων του Σέξπιρ , ένα ανεκτίμητο σήμερα έργο 900 σελίδων που εκδόθηκε το 1623 και που εκτιμάται ότι την εποχή εκείνη ίσως να είχε πουληθεί στην τιμή της μίας λίρας. Από τα 750 αντίτυπα που είχαν τυπωθεί αρχικά, σήμερα σώζονται λίγο περισσότερα από 200, τα οποία κοστίζουν εκατομμύρια ευρώ. Στη συλλογή του Γούλφσον υπάρχουν επίσης μια δεύτερη, τρίτη και τέταρτη έκδοση των Απάντων του Σέξπιρ , καθώς επίσης και έργα άλλων δραματουργών του 16ου, 17ου και 18ου αιώνα, καθώς και έργα που θεωρείται ότι ενέπνευσαν τον Βάρδο. Θεωρείται ότι ορισμένα από τα έργα που διαθέτει στη συλλογή του ο Γούλφσον κοστίζουν μέχρι και 1,6 εκατομμύρια δολάρια. Ο ίδιος ο θεατρικός συγγραφέας, ο οποίος επιθυμεί η συλλογή του να διατηρηθεί ενωμένη, δήλωσε ότι είναι τυχερός που βρήκε ένα μέρος τόσο κατάλληλο για τα βιβλία του όσο το θέατρο Shakespeare’s Globe.