The Folger Shakespeare Library

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

—The sprite Puck, mocking the humans in his forest  though his magical intervention is the cause of their consternation. 

Act 3, Scene 2, line 117

Read the full play.

From the Collection

Pinckney Marcius-Simons’ illustrated edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Watercolor paintings cover every page of Pinckney Marcius-Simons’ copy of an 1886 French edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Marcius-Simons’ illustrations date to 1908.

ART Vol. a71 endleaf 3 verso – endleaf 4 recto

Read more about this “luscious” book from Georgianna Ziegler on Folgerpedia.

Henry Fuseli’s painting of Puck

Henry Fuseli’s depiction of Puck is one of Fuseli’s later paintings, finished between 1810 and 1820.

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Fuseli’s painting is on display in the Bond Reading Room. Learn more about the other paintings on display on Folgerpedia.

Pavier Quarto of Midsummer, 1619

This copy of Midsummer incorrectly lists 1600 as the date of publication on the title page. The volume is one of the “Pavier Quartos” printed in 1619 by William Jaggard.

STC 22303 copy 1

Henry Folger’s portrait is on display in the Paster Reading Room. Learn more about the Pavier quartos on Folgerpedia.

Louisa May Alcott’s manuscript of “Little Pyramus and Thisbe”

Alcott, the author of Little Women, was inspired by Midsummer’s play-within-a-play about Ovid’s ill-fated lovers. The original subtitle for the 19th-century manuscript, crossed out on this page, was “The Wonderful Hole in the Wall.”

N.a. 32 folio 1 recto

Learn more about other 19th-century authors in the Folger collection on Folgerpedia.

Augustin Daly’s extra-illustrated copy of Midsummer

American theater manager and playwright Augustin Daly commemorated his productions with special a special copy of the play that featured ephemera from the production alongside play text.

ART Flat c18

Learn more about Daly’s memorial play copies in Erin Blake’s Collation blog post.

We will continue adding more to this page over time. Stay tuned! 

 

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