The Daily Gamecock

To go or not to go to First Folio — is it even a question?

One of the few original copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio is coming to USC, the only location chosen in South Carolina for the national tour commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Stanford University professor Stephen Orgel, a renowned Shakespeare scholar, will kick off the festivities with his talk “Much Ado About Shakespeare” Thursday night.

The exhibit "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" will be at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library from April 14-30. It will feature a First Folio from the Folger Shakespeare Library, as well as holdings of Shakespeare's works from Thomas Cooper Library and other works related to his life.

Dean of University Libraries Tom McNally said in a previous interview that, “This exhibit not only celebrates the 400th year of Shakespeare's death, it offers the opportunity to learn why Shakespeare is known to us all as the greatest writer in the history of the English language."

The First Folio is the common name given to the first collection of Shakespeare's works. Compiled and published in 1623 after his death in 1616, it included 18 previously unpublished plays that would otherwise be unknown today. It was also the first time the plays were grouped into comedies, histories and tragedies. The First Folio is now a rare book that preserved the works of Shakespeare for generations to come.

The exhibit gives students the opportunity to see first-hand a piece of literature that changed the face of literature. While in Columbia, the Folio will be opened to the page containing the most quoted line, "To be, or not to be," from "Hamlet." English professor Edward Gieskes, who teaches Shakespeare, said in a press release that “The folio’s presence here will help to show just how much Shakespeare is with us all the time.”

Along with the exhibit, there will be a host of plays and events revolving around Shakespeare throughout the city of Columbia. The USC Theatre Department will be putting on a production of “The Tempest” running from April 15-23, and “A Gravedigger's Tale,” which will run from April 21-23.

"First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" is a part of "The Wonder of Will," an international experience commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death, and will travel to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.