10 April 2006


倫敦蘇富比拍賣行3月30日宣佈,將於今年7月拍賣世界上第一本莎士比亞劇本集,這本英國文學史上最重要的書籍印製於1623年,集有莎翁的十八個劇本,籌得的資金將用於維持Daniel Williams圖書館的運作經費。被稱為「改變世界的書」,它的主人可以追溯至Queen Mary 年代的William Bates,亦即此書的第一位主人翁。他後來以五百英鎊賣給Daniel Williams成立現今的圖書館。雖說三分一的莎劇在當時先後發印過,但如果沒有這本書,今天的《麥克白》、《十二夜》、《如你所願》等十八個劇本就可能失傳了。蘇富比表示,拍賣之前,這本書將在洛杉磯、芝加哥、北京和香港作世界巡迴展。難道英國人不怕此書最終會流亡國外嗎?「莎士比亞不僅僅是屬於英國的國寶,他是屬於全世界人類的精神財富」,蘇富比如是說。

It was announced on 30 March that the most important book in English literature, the legendary first folio of William Shakespeare's plays printed in 1623, is to be sold in July. This is the book that changed the world, and is expected to fetch up to £3.5m to safeguard the financial future of Dr. Daniel Williams’ Library. The first own of the book is William Bates, a leading Puritan much admired by Queen Mary. Bates then sold the edition to Daniel Williams for £500 to set up the library, and the book remains there since. Although half of Shakespearean plays had appeared in quarto editions, the others, such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, etc. would have been lost without this book. The book will be auctioned through Sotheby’s who will take it on a world tour exhibiting in Los Angeles, Chicago, Beijing and Hong Kong. The owners and the auction house are both aware that the folio could be lost to the country when sold. But Sotheby's insisted that it is a piece of world literature, not just for the UK!

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