The Shakespeare Folios Project seeks to identify all existing copies of Shakespeare’s Second, Third, and Fourth Folios. Why? The First Folio has been thoroughly studied and counted, and thanks to the work of generations of scholars, we know how many copies exist today (around 235) and where they are located. But we don’t know how many copies of the later folios there are. Scholars make assertions about the scarcity of the Third Folio, but is it actually scarce? If we want to study how Shakespeare’s publications evolved and how they were used, we need first to identify where to find them.
The Shakespeare Folios Project will eventually include a census of known copies of the Second, Third, and Fourth Folios, as well as a census of digital facsimiles. We are currently in the early stages of locating copies, and are gathering information through a short survey. (More information about our plans for the project are in our blog, and we will be sharing updates there as we proceed.)