Fans of the Bard have a unique opportunity right here in South Florida. A rare edition of Shakespeare’s First Folio is on display at FIU’s Frost Museum of Art right now.
Published in 1623, just a few years after his death, the First Folio contains all 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, including 18 which had not been previously published.
“Without the Folio, the world would not know Lady MacBeth, there would be no ‘out damn spot!’, no three witches, there’d be no Tempest, the book is a treasure trove of words and without the book, half of Shakespeare’s words, half of his ideas, they wouldn’t exist,” said James Sutton, chair of FIU’s English Department. “The human experience, the power of the language in this book is for the world."
If you think it’s a foregone conclusion that Shakespeare’s works are the be-all and end-all of English literature, you’re not only probably correct, you’ve also just used two phrases coined by the Bard himself. The list of Shakespeare-isms we use in everyday language is shockingly long.
It’s Greek to me. Foul play. A tower of strength. Good riddance. Send me packing. Dead as a doornail. The long and short of it. Give the devil his due. Seen better days. Come full circle. A sea change. A foregone conclusion. The be-all and end-all.
All of those phrases are straight out of Shakespeare, and chances are, you use them without ever thinking of their origins. Such is the hold his works still have over the English language, 400 years after his death.
“The 36 plays are for the young, the old, the educated, for the unlearned, for every culture,” Sutton says.
School groups are taking field trips to see the Folio every day, and as a bonus, they’re getting a full immersion Shakespeare experience thanks to FIU’s “First Folio: The Globe Theatre Experience.” Thanks to 3D, virtual reality technology, visitors are taken on a tour of London, circa 1598. You walk up to the Globe Theatre, and along the way pass barkers and food stands until the stage is in front of you, with an actor launching into the opening monologue of Richard III.
“We thought that this would be just a really innovative way to bring Shakespeare to a new generation of students," said David Frisch, a graduate student in English Literature who helped create the virtual reality tour.
It’s a total success, judging by the responses from students. On this day, a group of high school kids from Somerset Academy in Homestead was captivated by the entire First Folio experience.
“It's every educator's dream for their students to engage with the authors and the concepts and when they're here and they're getting excited and see so many different angles about it, it's great, a great opportunity,” said Raquel Paz, an English teacher at Somerset.