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Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
The Works of William Shakespeare. London: James O. Halliwell by C. and J. Adlard, 1853. 16 Volumes.
Call Number: (SPL)(SHAK) PR 2753 .H2 1853
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

First lines of act one from The Tempest, opens to two-page spread of the first page of The Tempest

Halliwell's edition, a lavish sixteen-volume folio set, is an icon of the affluent. The size and weight make the books extremely difficult and awkward to handle; it's unlikely that they would have been found on just anyone's bookshelf in the mid-1800's. Private ownership of this edition would suggest affluence enough to have a home with a library--and servants who could be called on to move the books from shelves to reading table or stand and back. For many purchasers, we might presume that the packaging, not the content, was the desirable element.

However, the scholarly reader might also find this edition worthwhile. Halliwell's text provides a number of original readings of disputed or difficult lines and passages. He also restores some First Folio readings for the first time since Nicholas Rowe attached his name to an edition in 1704.

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Prepared by Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, and Sarah McDaniel