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Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Autumn
1622
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Ashm.1057(14), signature D4 recto

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Ashm.1057(14), signature D4 recto
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The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source. For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

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Title: Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Date: Francof. [really Lond. J. Bill], 1622.
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: Ashm. 1057(14), sigs. D4r & D4v
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Item Title
Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Item Date
Francof. [really Lond. J. Bill], 1622
Repository
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call Number
Ashm. 1057(14), sig. D4r

Ashm.1057(14), signature D4 verso

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Ashm.1057(14), signature D4 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source. For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Copy-specific information
Title: Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Date: Francof. [really Lond. J. Bill], 1622.
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: Ashm. 1057(14), sigs. D4r & D4v
View online bibliographic record

Item Title
Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Item Date
Francof. [really Lond. J. Bill], 1622
Repository
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call Number
Ashm. 1057(14), sig. D4v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, has graciously contributed images of materials in its collections to Shakespeare Documented under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. Images used within the scope of these terms should cite the Bodleian Libraries as the source. For any use outside the scope of these terms, visitors should contact Bodleian Libraries Imaging Services at imaging@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Copy-specific information
Title: Catalogus vniuersalis pro nundinis Francofurtensibus vernalibus ... 1621. autumn.
Date: Francof. [really Lond. J. Bill], 1622.
Repository: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Call number and opening: Ashm. 1057(14), sigs. D4r & D4v
View online bibliographic record

The principal book fair in Western Europe was held biannually in Frankfurt, Germany. While most books offered at the fair were in Latin, by 1618-1619 booksellers advertised books in English in printed catalogs. The Londoners’ catalog for the Spring 1622 Frankfurt Fair announced that English supplements would be included thereafter. Among the English titles listed in the very next catalog, for Autumn 1622, was the Shakespeare First Folio.

The First Folio, which would be entitled Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, was the product of several years’ effort. Like all books of its time, it was type-set and printed off in “sheets,” meaning, in this case, some three dozen separate gatherings of three sheets, six leaves, or twelve pages each. As the printers worked simultaneously on at least two other folio projects, pressure to complete any one project took attention away from the others. It was a simple matter for the printers to stop work at the completion of any gathering, change projects, and resume work on the next gathering at a later date.

The Autumn 1622 Frankfurt catalog bore the title, A catalogue of such bookes as have beene published, and (by authoritie) printed in English, since the last Vernall Mart, which was in Aprill 1622. till this present October 1622. Jumping the gun by almost a year, the London booksellers advertised the First Folio:

Playes written by Mr. William Shakespeare, all in one volume, printed by Isaac Jaggard, in fol.

This 1622 Autumn catalog abbreviates Shakespeare’s honorific title to “Mr.” and correctly identifies the imprint as a folio, further specifying that the “plays” were “all in one volume.”

Some part of the First Folio may have been printed by October 1622, but the “one volume” was not, in fact, completed. The year of its publication, 1623, saw no similar advertisement, but the First Folio was advertised a second time in Spring 1624.

Notably, neither title printed in either catalog exactly matches the title of the volume as published, nor do the two catalog titles exactly match one another.

The Frankfurt Fair advertisements of the First Folio suggest that William Shakespeare had gained a reputation beyond the boundaries of England, while the First Folio was thought capable of attracting the attention of European buyers even a year in advance of its actual publication. The personal title “Master” exactly fits with what is otherwise known about the life and social status of the English playwright.

Written by Alan H. Nelson

Sources

Peter W. M. Blayney, The First Folio of Shakespeare (Folger Library Publications, 1991): 26.

Last updated May 27, 2016