The collection features a dedication to noble patrons and a brief sequence of poems by contemporary writers, but the title-page does not draw on any external sources of authority and after the introductory material there is no further mention of any such sources.
One effect of this relative freedom from external authorities is that the collection's authority derives almost entirely from its author.
This is highlighted by the positioning of the picture of Shakespeare on the title-page, not on a separate page. In other contemporary collections this space was occupied by invocations of sources of authority – such as symbols of and quotations from the Bible and classical writings – while the pictures of the author appear on separate pages.
In the earlier collections, authors and authorities remain subtly separate, while in Shakespeare's Folio the author is the authority.
Unusually, the picture of Shakespeare lacks elaboration and embellishment, which breaks with the conventions for such works established in recent times of placing the author in visual relation to his position and work.
This simplicity further emphasises the degree to which Shakespeare's Folio is able to rely more on its author, without situating him amongst complex associations.
With kind permission of Manchester University Press
Meek, Richard, et al. 2008. Shakespeare's book: essays in reading, writing and reception.