Shakespeare’s Folio at Home at Fondren Library

CONTACT: Philip Montgomery

(713) 831-4795



Scholars may never know the details
of William Shakespeare love life, but they do know that the authoritative text
for the Bard’s plays is the 1623 First Folio, which is now available to scholars
and students through Rice’s Fondren Library.

The First Folio, of which about 240 exist, recently became
available to students and scholars at Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center,
a repository for rare archives. Rice’s First Folio contains three of
Shakespeare’s most important plays: “The Tragedy of King Lear,” “The Tragedy of
Othello, the Moor of Venice,” and “The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra.” A
complete First Folio contains 36 plays.

“The First Folio is the most authoritative single text we have
of Shakespeare’s play,” said Meredith Skura, professor of English at Rice and a
Shakespearean scholar. “Students have always been able to read modernized
versions of Shakespeare’s texts–but with a first folio in our library they will
for the first time be able to see for themselves how different the original was.
It is important to realize how much the actual text has been doctored for modern

In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, two of his
friends and fellow actors published the playwright’s collected plays in what is
known as the First Folio.

William B. Hunter, a Milton scholar who taught at the
University of Houston, Vanderbilt and other universities, donated the First
Folio to Rice in the summer of 1998.

Rice University is a leading American research
university–small, private, and highly selective–distinguished by its superior
teaching, commitment to undergraduate education, outstanding graduate and
professional programs, residential college system, collaborative and
interdisciplinary culture, and global perspective.

For more information about the First Folio, contact Philip
Montgomery, assistant director of Rice’s Office of Media Relations, at (713)


Editors: For more information about Rice University visit

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