SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.]
Lot 30
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.
The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.]
Sold for US$ 175,000 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

12 Jun 2018, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.] SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.] SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.] SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.]
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. 1564-1616.
The Tragedie of Julius Caesar [Extracted from the First Folio]. [London: Isaac Jaggard..., 1623.]
Folio (308 x 196 mm). 22 pp, the complete play. Modern red crushed morocco, ruled in gilt, repair to lower corners of some leaves, upper border shaved above headlines on most leaves, but not affecting headline or pagination, borders at fore-edge shaved, occasionally touching text, minor staining, small wormhole running through all 11 leaves.

FIRST PRINTING OF JULIUS CAESAR, one of Shakespeare's greatest and most popular plays. Quintessential Shakespeare, Julius Caesar is a bloody meditation on ethics and statecraft exploring many of his most important and recurrent themes: power and its abuse, fate vs free will, the vanity of human ambition, and the hard truth that evil cannot beget order but only chaos. Julius Caesar is Shakespeare's most overtly political work and it captures the relationship between politics and theater with a brilliance never before or since surpassed. Probably the first play ever produced at the Globe Theatre (in 1599), Julius Caesar has been adapted multiple times across the centuries to serve a diversity of political agendas. The play remains as vital and relevant today as when it was first performed.
"Incomparably the most important work in the English language" (Pforzheimer Catalogue), the First Folio is both the definitive source for Shakespeare's plays and for all practical purposes the earliest obtainable printing of any particular play. Remarkably, Julius Caesar, along with seventeen other plays, had never previously been printed, and its appearance in the First Folio represents its first publication in any form; the first separate printing would not occur until 1684. This First Folio printing of Julius Caesar is in fact the only known source of the text: no earlier printing, manuscript, or prompt-book exists today.
The number of extant plays individually bound from the First Folio is very small, and Julius Caesar has appeared in the marketplace only rarely. With the rise in price of the First Folio — now well into 7-figures — individually bound plays are becoming increasingly desirable and hard-to-find. Given both its literary excellence and its importance within our cultural history, Julius Caesar is certainly one of the most desirable of all the First Folio plays. See Pforzheimer 905 (for First Folio).

Footnotes

  • Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;
    So let it be with Caesar.
    -Antony, Act III, Scene II.
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