Shakespeare’s Bad Quarto: a Modern Artists’ Book on the Earliest Hamlet April 4 - 28, 2016 in Leyburn Library, Main Floor

The focal point of this exhibition in Leyburn Library is the Bad Quarto -- a book created by a collective of book artists at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The earliest published edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet was published in a small "paperback" edition, known as a quarto, in 1603.  Known as the "first quarto" or sometimes the "bad quarto," this earliest version (Q1) is much shorter and quite different than later published versions, including the Second Quarto in 1604 or the First Folio in 1623.  Speculation abounds to explain the differences between the first quarto and later editions. 

The Virginia Arts of the Book Center (VABC) in Charlottesville is a workspace for book artists who do letterpress printing, bookbinding, papermaking, design, and printmaking.  Every year, the VABC creates a collective project; in 2015, the project was the Bad Quarto, an artist's book interpretation of Q1, involving more than 20 printers, artists, and book binders.  Fifty-five copies of the book was produced.   The book will be on exhibited on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library from April 4 - 28 in two forms: the finished, bound book itself and a display of the 64 unbound pages of artwork, graphics, and printed text.