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Fairfield Community School District

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Face to Face with Shakespeare's First Folio

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Face to Face with Shakespeare's First Folio
By: Tena Nelson

On Friday, September 23, 7th and 8th grade GOAL students had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, traveling to the University of Iowa to meet with Dr. Colleen Kennedy and to view one of the First Folios of William Shakespeare.  As part of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is sending a Folio to every state in 2016.  Iowa hosted the First Folio in the month of September in Iowa City.

What is the First Folio?  It is the first published compilation of the plays of Shakespeare and includes 36 plays.  18 of those plays were published for the very first time in the Folio and may have been lost to history without it.  The Folio was published in 1623, just 7 years after Shakespeare's death.  For more information on the First Folio Tour, visit http://www.folger.edu/first-folio-tour

Dr. Kennedy met with the FMS students and took them on a tour of the "Shakespeare at Iowa" exhibit, where they saw the First Folio opened up to Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" speech.  They also saw several works owned by the University of Iowa Library which included Shakespeare Quartos, reference books from the time of Shakespeare's life, and other publications that Shakespeare could have used to gain knowledge to write his plays.


In preparation for their trip, 7th and 8th grade GOAL students learned about William Shakespeare's life.  They also studied one of his plays, The Taming of the Shrew, in depth by reading and acting it out, by comparing a film adaptation to the text, and by viewing a modern work inspired by The Taming of the Shrew.