Lecture: Shakespeare’s First Folio – From London to Australia and Many Points in Between

The ANU Centre for Early Modern Studies is delighted to welcome Professor Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, University of Oxford to present a special lecture on Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Shakespeare’s First Folio is the world’s most important secular book. This illustrated lecture explores its significance, from the collaboration between the theatre and print worlds which brought it into being, to the readers, collectors and actors who have used it over the last four centuries. Lots of people have left their mark on this book in ways which tell us about its importance at different times and different places, including, since 1885, Australia.

Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, University of Oxford. Emma has been a Fellow of Hertford and Lecturer in the Faculty of English since 1997 and is the 2023 Sam Wanamaker Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. She has written and lectured widely on Shakespeare, including the bestselling This Is Shakespeare (Pelican, 2019). Her latest publications are Portable Magic: A history of books and their readers (Penguin 2022), and two books on Shakespeare’s First Folio in 2023: The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, on how this book came to be produced, and Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book, on its long afterlife.

Emma’s research focuses on Shakespeare, early modern drama, and book history, and is particularly interested in Shakespeare’s reception in print, performance, and criticism. She is interested in early modern plays in performance, and has acted as consultant, dramaturge or reviewer for a number of recent productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, and Donmar Warehouse.

The lecture will be followed by a book signing in the NLA’s bookshop.