The literary history of the world has suddenly appeared in provincial library in France.
The librarian Remy Cordonnier sought in September after literature from Anglo-Saxon authors in the library in Saint-Omer, near Calais in northern France. But while he ransacked all the books that could be used in a planned exhibition on the literature of the Middle Ages, there was still a book that stood out – and like anything else than what it had been put in the catalog.
It was used, slightly damaged and had seen better days. But by e-mail sent librarian pictures of the book to the American Shakespeare expert, Eric Rasmussen, who reciprocated by a visit to France.
Eric Rasmussen immediately recognized the book as a version of the rare title ‘First Folio – Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies‘ from the year 1623rd
– It’s great. First Folio do not shown up very often, and when it does, it is often worn out, uninteresting copies, but this is really splendid, says Eric Rasmussen, a professor at the University of Nevada to New York Times.
– It was very emotional to discover that we have a copy of one of the most famous books in the world, says librarian Cordonnier.
“This edition will not appear very often, and when it does, it is often worn out, uninteresting copies, but this is really wonderful.”
Eric Rasmussen, professor
Value: $ 5,200,000
First Folio contains the script for 36 plays. In 1623 – seven years after Shakespeare died – it was printed in 800 copies. With this discovery is the total known number of day 233, and they are quite valuable: In 2006, a version sold at auction at Sotheby‘s for $ 5,200,000, or almost 30 millions crowns.
It is believed that the book has ended up in the library in France through an important Jesuit who lived in Saint-Omer. They welcomed namely the Roman Catholics fleeing Protestant persecution in England, welcome – one of them must have thought that Shakespeare was worth to carry with them.