Public Lecture: Ewan Fernie at the State Library

A Tale of Two Folios: Professor Fernie charts the Birmingham backstory to the only First Folio in Australia.

6-7pm Thursday 7 December at the State Library of NSW.

ANZSA and the State Library have joined forces to bring Professor Ewan Fernie to Sydney to share his wisdom in this free public event.

Shakespeare's First Folio open at frontispiece.

It is still not well enough known that Birmingham of all places is the home of the first great Shakespeare library in the world, founded, in 1864, for all citizens. At the beginning of the 1880s, Birmingham’s Shakespeare Library acquired the only First Folio in the world bought as part of a vision of comprehensive culture. In the same decade, the Birmingham businessman, Richard Tangye, gifted (along with his brother Geroge), ‘a remarkably fine copy’ of the first edition of Shakespeare’s collected works to Sydney’s Free Public Library. This lecture will fill in the Birmingham backstory to the only First Folio in Australia, teasing out connections between Birmingham’s and Australia’s Shakespeare heritage in terms of a shared effort to decentre, recentre and recreate traditional English culture. It will celebrate this as a blow for a more democratic and inclusive Shakespeare and reflect on the extent to which Shakespeare’s Folio is an appropriate vehicle for regenerating culture in general.
Ewan Fernie is Chair, Professor and Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon and Director of the 2-million-pound lottery-funded ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, which is reviving the world’s first great Shakespeare library with people and communities across Birmingham, where he advised on the Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He is Academic Director of Culture Forward, which is working to bring the University of Birmingham into more creative conjunction with culture in the City. His books include: Shame in ShakespeareThe Demonic: Literature and ExperienceShakespeare for Freedom‘Macbeth, Macbeth’ (a novel cowritten with Simon Palfrey), Spiritual Shakespeares, Redcrosse: Remaking Religious Poetry for Today’s World, (with Tobias Döring) Thomas Mann and Shakespeare: Something Rich and Strange, and (with Paul Edmondson) New Places: Shakespeare and Civic Creativity. He is currently writing about Thomas Carlyle.
Professor Fernie’s presentation courtesy of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Australian Catholic University and is in association with the Shakespeare Beyond All Limits – ANZSA 2023 Conference

If you have registered for the conference there is no need to make a separate booking for the lecture. If you are not attending the rest of the conference, book for the lecture here.