Saturday, July 10, 2010

Folio Fail: Raymond Scott Convicted

If you've read Paul Collins' excellent The Book of William, about the history of Shakespeare's first folio, you know that every known copy has been meticulously studied, with every flaw and misprint carefully recorded. Pick any single page of a folio, and the experts can probably tell you which copy it's from.

So, how clueless is Raymond Scott? A few years ago, he walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and asked them to authenticate his copy of the first folio -- the same copy that had been stolen from Durham University in 1998. I can just imagine the librarian, with a pasted-on smile, pleasantly asking Scott to wait "just a few more minutes" while she quietly dialed the police. She probably offered him coffee and a Danish.

After a colorful trial, Scott was cleared this week of stealing the folio from Durham, but he was convicted of handling stolen goods. Given the value of the folio -- about 15 million British pounds -- he is likely to be sitting in prison for quite some time. Long enough, at least, to read the complete works of Shakespeare. But I very much doubt that he will.

1 comment:

  1. Glad he was stupid enough to try to get it authenticated so the folio could go home where it belongs! I started my "Read in a Year" last week. I've read MacBeth, and now I have to decide which to read next. Thought I'd start with some favorites and then do a couple I've never read before.