What is the Meisei Copy?
- The Meisei Copy, coded MR 774, is one of the 12 copies of the
First Folio of Shakespeare in the holdings of the Meisei University
Library and is the copy identified as West 201 (Lee 53) [See Anthony
James West, The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the
Book, Vol. I (Oxford UP, 2001) and Vol. II (2003)].
This copy is very unique in that it preserves every trace of how
a 17th century reader actually read the copy. The same reader left
upper lines, dots, and various inscriptions apparently as he proceeded
through the folio pages. Dr. Akihiro Yamada, former Professor of
Meisei University, former Director of Meisei University Library,
and Emeritus Professor of Shinshu University, published his extended
study of the copy in The First Folio of Shakespeare: A Transcript
of Contemporary Marginalia. In honour of his work we have decided
to call the copy 'The Meisei Copy' instead of 'The Houghton Copy'
named after the former owner.
March 31, 2006