Early Modern English Books


The chief aim of this cluster is to establish the list of all early modern English books (1475-1700) at the Martin Bodmer Foundation (from the Caxton Canterbury Tales to Dryden’s Works of Virgil), to produce a catalogue with bibliographic descriptions of and information about all these books, and to provide a detailed discursive introduction to the history and make-up of the Bodmer’s collection of early modern English books, particularly of its important Shakespeare collection. Shakespeare was a key author for Martin Bodmer from early on and remained so for the rest of his life, as reflected by his building of one of the finest collections of early modern editions of Shakespeare in the world, and the finest outside the Anglophone world. This cluster is shedding much new light on ‘Bodmer’s Shakespeare’.

The catalogue is now available in the book published in January 2018 by Lukas Erne and Devani Singh Shakespeare in Geneva, Early Modern English Books (1475-1700) at the Martin Bodmer Foundation (Paris, Ithaque). The full collection of  « Early Modern English Books » will be available in the Spring of 2018 on our new website, currently under development. Four books are already online on the Shakespeare in Geneva webpage.


1) Title-page with the Droeshout engraving of the Shakespeare First Folio (1623) with his collected dramatic works. The Bodmer copy, complete, in pristine condition, and in its original binding, has been described as one of the finest in the world.

2) Title-page of the first edition of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (1609), the only extant uncut (i.e. untrimmed) copy of a Shakespeare quarto published during his lifetime.