Fourth FolioFinally we come to our facsimile of the Fourth Folio, which was originally issued in 1685, when ownership of the plays had again changed hands:

“Eleanor Cotes’ rights passed to John Martin and Henry Herringman in August of 1674. Martin died in 1674 and his widow, Sarah, assigned his rights to Robert Scott (about whom little is known) in 1683. While Eleanor Cotes is known to have owned half the rights to the texts originally registered by Jaggard and Blount, it seems that Martin and Herringman believed that they had acquired these plays outright . . . In any event, by 1685 Henry Herringman was clearly the dominant rights-holder and his name appears as publisher on all of the title-pages of the Fourth Folio” [there are at least three states of the t.p.] . . .

“The Fourth Folio differs from the Second and Third in that it is not a page-for-page reprint of the 1623 original. The volume falls into three divisions, each with separate signatures and pagination: the Comedies; the Histories plus the Tragedies up to and including Romeo and Juliet; and the remainder of the Tragedies, together with the apocryphal plays added in 1664. The three sections are clearly the work of three distinct printshops.”

From Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print (2003)

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