#34 William Shakespeare, Othello (1695)
Some of Shakespeare’s plays were initially published individually as small, slim pamphlets, as opposed to the larger format of the collected plays. Editions of individual plays remained popular throughout the seventeenth century. This edition of Othello was advertised as both an “old” and a “new” play: the title-page mentions performances at the Globe and the Blackfriars theatres (where they were first performed by Shakespeare’s company) as well as recent performances at the Theatre Royal in late-seventeenth-century London. Unlike the earliest editions, this book includes a “Dramatis Personae,” a list of characters that identifies the actors and actresses who played each principal part. At some point this copy was interleaved with blank pages which were used to take notes: opposite the first page of the play a reader has identified the first instance in which the villain Iago purports to reveal his motivation, his “professional jealousy” of Cassio. This copy was once owned by Marsden J. Perry, an important early-twentieth century Shakespeare collector.