Shakespeare's First Folio is one of the most important works in the English language. Many students, teachers, actors and aficionados feel the First Folio is the closest to what Shakespeare intended—using the line breaks and other typesetting marks as clues to unlocking the text. It is presumed that up to 1,000 copies were printed, of which only 232 exist today—mostly in libraries and private collections. Due to variations in printing and history of the editions, no two editions are identical and most contain numerous errors.
For almost a year, the PlayShakespeare.com has been working on creating XML files for the First Folio. Our team's goal was to create a set of files that we could label "best of" and take the most correct parts from the First Folio (of all the editions available to us). It was important to keep the original spelling and line breaks so there's an exact replica of the First Folio. Since our own PlayShakespeare.com editions also use a variety of text sources to create the best versions, we also put together Quarto editions in XML for plays not available in the First Folio (e.g. Pericles, Two Noble Kinsmen, Sonnets, etc.).
We're happy to announce the files for Shakespeare's First Folio in XML are now available for download today in our document library. They have also been added to the Shakespeare Pro™ app (update available shortly on the iTunes App Store). We hope that users will enjoy them and find them useful. If you have any feedback, feel free to post it here.