This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

Free delivery on UK orders over £50

Shakespeare’s Book: The Intertwined Lives Behind the First Folio by Chris Laoutaris - Paperback

Sale price

Regular price £12.99
( / )
Shipping calculated at checkout.

We aim to deliver shop products within:

UK – 1-5 business days

Europe – 1-2 weeks

Rest of world – 1-3 weeks

Please note: Print to order products are dispatched separately to the rest of your order. This means that if you order these items alongside other shop products, they won’t all arrive together, and you’ll get several deliveries.

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review

2023 marks the 400-year anniversary of Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, known today simply as the First Folio. It is difficult to imagine a world without The TempestTwelfth NightAntony and CleopatraThe Winter’s Tale, and Macbeth, but these are just some of the plays which were only preserved thanks to the astounding labour of love that went into creating the first collection.

Without the First Folio, Shakespeare was unlikely to acquire his towering international stature and become the legend that inspired so much of language, art, education and public institution. But who were the personalities behind the project and did Shakespeare himself play a role in its inception?

Shakespeare’s Book: The Intertwined Lives Behind the First Folio charts, for the first time, the manufacture of the First Folio against a turbulent backdrop of seismic political events and international tensions which intersected with the lives of its creators and which left their indelible marks on this ambitious publication-project. This transporting book uncovers the friendships, bonds, social ties and professional networks which facilitated the production of Shakespeare’s book, as well as the personal challenges, tragedies and dangers which threw obstacles in its way. And it reveals how Shakespeare himself, before his death, may have influenced the ways in which his own public identity would come to be enshrined in the First Folio, shaping the transmission of his legacy to future generations and determining how the world would remember him ‘not of an age, but for all time’.

Every purchase you make supports the work of Shakespeare's Globe. Thank you!


Author: Chris Laoutaris

Format: Paperback

Size: 190 mm x 450 mm

Pages: 560


UK delivery within 3 – 6 working days

Outside UK delivery within 5 – 12 working days

Staff Review

Shakespeare’s Book is a misleading title, and I’m glad for it. This is not just the story of one great man and his textual legacy. Laoutaris succeeds finding the entwined lives behind the First Folio. In short: there’s more to this book than just a book!
From the busy backrooms of London printing shops to the elaborate masques of court, Laoutaris guides his reader through the many echelons of Jacobean London, introducing us to a network of printers, stationers, actors, courtiers, and entrepreneurs. The First Folio is the reader’s reference point as they are introduced to the complex social fabric of Early Modern England. He flexes an extraordinary eye for detail (think the various costs of paper and complexities of Jacobean copyright) whilst always gesturing to the bigger picture: war in Europe, court rivalries, and sectarian unrest.
Yet for me, Shakespeare’s Book is at it’s most compelling when Laoutaris traces the human connections behind the Folio. He emphasises the collaborative spirit that produced this text, successfully managing to navigate a complex web of relationships that crisscross a rapidly changing urban environment. There are equal doses of social and material histories, with just enough off-stage drama to balance out the more technical moments of cases and presswork.
I would happily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Early Modern history, literary studies, and Jacobean theatre. Whilst not highly academic, a moderate grounding in some of the period’s major historical developments would make this a swifter read. But Laoutaris’ style is always accessible, and his passion for this moment in literary history is certainly infectious!

Reviewed by George (Assistant to the Education Directors)