A ‘new’ first folio of Shakespeare’s plays has been discovered in a small library in St Omer, northern France. (A first folio is essentially the first collection of Shakespeare’s complete works, printed 7 years after his death). This brings the total number of known first folios in the world to 233.
Whilst the St Omer first folio is missing the first 12 title pages – which record the printing date and location – it’s still a massively important discovery, as each first folio can contain variations that shed light on the bard’s meaning and intentions. Among the 900 pages of the most recent discovery are rare annotations that suggest it may have been used for performance.
The next steps for Shakespeare scholars is likely to be an in-depth analysis of comparison with other existing first folios to determine what variations the latest discovery may contain.