Imagine a world with no Macbeth

The First FolioThe New York Times recently had a good story on the Folger Library’sFame, Fortune & Theft: The Shakespeare First Folio.” In addition to prompting me to add the exhibit to my to-do list, the story made my head spin with the following paragraph:

“If it weren’t for the First Folio, there would be no extant copies of ‘The Tempest,’ ‘Julius Caesar,’ ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Twelfth Night’ ‘As You Like It’ or ‘The Winter’s Tale.’ All the world wouldn’t be a stage; no countrymen would lend anyone their ears; and life wouldn’t be a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.”

Wow. Imagine the cultural gap we would have suffered had the First Folio not been published and preserved. And then start wondering what cultural gems were lost when they weren’t afforded the same treatment …