The First Folios

Fanatical Fan of First Folios ?

That’s me….

I’m in love with Shakespeare. [1] It all began with going to a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as children. The college show was sold-out, SRO. Or, in my sister Pam’s and my cases, sitting room only. The adults sat us on the edge of the stage and I remember watching spellbound. We were hit by the dew drops that Puck sprinkled on Titania and the hapless lovers, and I’ve been love with the Bard ever since.

Heading to London last September to meet Pam meant we were going to be busy. Pam’s wish list was long and broad. Mine was too, but the #1 item on my list was this: Make a pilgrimage to the National Maritime Museum and  the first folio of The Tempest they were exhibiting as part of the First Folio’s 400th birthday!

The exhibit The Tempest and the Thames: Shakespeare’s First Folio was closing a few days after our arrival, and my lovely sister agreed that we could head there before we did anything else in London…

Pammy snapped photos of me pointing in glee at the First Folio edition lent to the museum by Dulwich College. I made a point of leaning over the glass case and read aloud from the pages the curators had opened the folio to.  It begins with a terrible storm:


SCENE II. The island. Before PROSPERO’S cell.



If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them.
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to the welkin’s cheek,
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel,
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her,
Dash’d all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perish’d.
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere
It should the good ship so have swallow’d and
The fraughting souls within her.


Be collected:
No more amazement: tell your piteous heart
There’s no harm done.

It was an emotional experience for me. I swear my eyes were filling with tears by the time I finished reading out loud from a manuscript of a play performed 400 years ago.

Reading from a First Folio went from being a thrill to an obsession. I decided to track down as many folios as time allowed.

Part II to follow!

NOTES: [1] I mentioned this fact in a post I titled Meet the One-Tracks. And today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. The Immortal Bard would be 459 years young today. He and his works haven’t aged a bit. ©2024 Jadi Campbell. For Uwe’s photos from our trips and his photography, go to

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys,  Grounded and The Trail Back Out.

Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. Broken In: A Novel in Stories was semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award from Hidden River Arts and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories).

The Trail Back Out was the 2023 San Francisco Book Festival Winner for General Fiction, American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.

3 thoughts on “The First Folios”

  1. You are undoubtedly a fan of Shakespeare’s works because of all those adventures you did with your sister to see his works in the theater and the readings of the Folios. The important thing is that you managed to reach your idol, which is saying a lot. Greetings

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