Collections of Distinction

Posts Tagged ‘Barton Collection’

Heb Ddieu Heb Ddim: the False Folio Affair

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by jmoschella in Collections of Distinction

Jaggard’s Heb Ddiue device on a false folio title page

Allowing for caveats and scholarly disagreement, the corpus of surviving Shakespearian manuscript materials is comprised of just twelve words: “William Shakespeare,” or variant spellings thereof, signed six times across four different legal documents.  There are no rough drafts of his plays or sonnets, no correspondence or diaries; nothing to help us understand the inner workings of Shakespeare’s creative process.

This vacuum of evidence has been filled by centuries of speculation over everything from which printed editions most accurately reflect Shakespeare’s original intent, to whether Shakespeare himself was anything more than an elaborate fraud — a boorish country actor at the center of a plot to pass off the writing of another man as his own.