Carnegie Mellon University

Shakespeare’s First Folio and Second Chance

with Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University

November 30, 3:00pm-4:30pm

This event will be in-person only. The event is free and open to the public.
Register now

McConomy Auditorium, Cohon University Center
Event Organizer: Sonia Wellington

To read a play after seeing it performed on stage is to give it a second chance. The plot, the characters, and the words may be largely the same, but the experience is transformed by the change in medium, with a different scope for the imagination and a significantly altered quality of attention. About half of Shakespeare’s plays appeared in print during his lifetime, and some may even have been sold at the theater where they were performed. But for half of his plays there was no second chance opportunity provided by print–not, that is, until the publication of the First Folio. This lecture will reflect on the 18 plays that appeared in print for the first time in the First Folio and will focus in particular upon The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s supreme play about the possibility of a second chance.

Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard. He is the author of fourteen books, including Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power; The Swerve: How the World Became Modern; and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. His honors include the Holberg Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Mellon Distinguished Humanist Award.

This year, the University Libraries is mounting two exhibitions to mark the quatercentenary (1623-2023) of Shakespeare’s First Folio, a copy of which is held in the Libraries’ Special Collections. Organized in collaboration with Pittsburgh’s Frick Art Museum, these exhibits are offered in two venues. One exhibit, “Inventing Shakespeare: Text, Technology, and the Four Folios,” is on display in Carnegie Mellon University’s Hunt Library; and the other, “From Stage to Page: 400 Years of Shakespeare in Print,” is mounted in the Frick’s Jacobean Gallery.

Together, these exhibits trace the history and influence of the Shakespeare folios from the seventeenth century to the present. Both exhibits are free and open to the public.

Presented by Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the Center for Print, Networks, and Performance (CPNP) with additional support from the Department of English, The Frick Pittsburgh, the Humanities Center, the Center for the Arts in Society, the School of Drama, the Department of History, and the University Lecture Series.