Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines, 1612 - title page.

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Date:1612

Description:A favourite book of William Shakespeare, printed by a fellow Stratfordian.

North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives was first printed by Thomas Vautrollier in 1579. The book's success led to further editions in 1603 and in 1612, printed by Richard Field who had succeeded his master as head of the printing firm.

Books of all kinds were available to Shakespeare when he came to London in the 1580s. There are no books extant which are known definitely to have belonged to him and all that we know of the books he knew and loved is from the evidence within his plays and poems. It would seem likely that Shakespeare’s initial introduction to the world of books in London was with the aid of Richard Field, the printer’s apprentice, who also came from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Full title: Plutarchus The lives of the noble Grecians and Romaines compared together Plutarch of Chaeronea. Translated out of Greeke into French by James Amiot, Abbot of Bellozane with the lives of Hannibal and Scipio African translated out of Latine into French by Charles de l'Escluse and out of French into English by Sir Thomas North, knight. London, printed by Richard Field, 1612.


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1570s
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page
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1590s
Church of England, Booke of Common Prayer, 1596 - binding view
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1610s
William Shakespeare, Quartos, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1600 [1619] - Theseus goes hunting, p.F4v.
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Duke Theseus’ hounds in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Theseus’s ...

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Donor ref:SR/OS 93.1 [825] (32/10488)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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