War and America’s Shakespeare

“Extremity is the trier of spirits/ Common chances common men will bear.” Quoting from Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Abigail Adams praised the courage of the militiamen at the Battle of Bunker Hill in a letter to her husband, John Adams, in 1775. From the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, Americans have engaged with William Shakespeare and his plays… Continue Reading »


How Queen Elizabeth I spent her summer vacation

You thought you had packing woes—imagine trying to cram a whole palace-full of goods into carts for a summer-long jaunt through the English countryside! Yet this is just what Queen Elizabeth I’s staff did almost two dozen times during her 44-year reign, as she and her court took to the highways for her seasonal progresses…. Continue Reading »


Follow the First Folio tour! Updates from Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Hawaii, West Virginia, and North Carolina

Tulane University welcomed the First Folio to its city earlier this month in true New Orleans style: Dr. Michael White and the Liberty Brass Band led a jazz funeral for Shakespeare, followed by a “second line” procession of people carrying green and white parasols. See more photos from the event on Flickr. This video is from… Continue Reading »


Quiz: How well do you know the history of Shakespeare in America?

Who is America’s Shakespeare? Test your knowledge with this quiz. Want to learn more? Visit the Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition, America’s Shakespeare, through July 24, 2016 Listen to the Shakespeare in American Life radio documentary


Shakespeare and Cervantes: Dying well after living well

In The Art of Dying Well, the Italian Jesuit Robert Bellarmine, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, declares, “True, therefore, is the sentence, ‘He who lives well, dies well;’ and, ‘He who lives ill, dies ill.’” This year marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare—what might these two… Continue Reading »


Orson Welles and the Voodoo ‘Macbeth’ that launched his directing career

Can you feel the feverish excitement in the air? This photograph from April 14, 1936, shows the crowded streets outside the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem on opening night for the Federal Theatre Project’s Macbeth, directed by a young Orson Welles. (He was only 20 years old!) The Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Unit was a New Deal program under the… Continue Reading »


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