Shakespeare’s First Folio: The playlist

Curious about the book that gave us Shakespeare? We’ve assembled a playlist of seven Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episodes about the First Folio. Without this first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works, published in 1623, we might not have such famous plays as Macbeth or The Tempest. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the… Continue Reading »



Which Shakespeare plays are most often taught in high school English classes?

Think back to your high school English classes. Did you read Romeo and Juliet as a freshman? What about Hamlet in your senior year? Studying Shakespeare is required in the Common Core English Language Arts standards, but the Bard secured his place on the English curriculum in American classrooms long before the Common Core was established. As Jonathan Burton… Continue Reading »


Collecting Will and Jane

One of the stories told by the current exhibition Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is that literary renown is as much about commodities as about books. Literary celebrity transforms authors into objects. Our exhibition traces this commodification to the eighteenth century, when Shakespeare (like Austen now) was at the 200-year… Continue Reading »


Balancing the body and consulting the heavens: Medicine in Shakespeare’s time

Few Elizabethans were wealthy enough to afford a licensed physician. Instead, they would rely on the knowledge of a local “wise woman,” with her home collection of remedy recipes and medicines. Or, they would send a description of their symptoms (along with a urine sample) to an “empiric,” who might cast an astrological horoscope. Broken bone? Call the barber-surgeon!… Continue Reading »


“You had more beard when I last saw you”: a set of Shakespearean shaving papers

Two Folger exhibitions in this anniversary year have explored Shakespeare’s far-reaching effect on consumer culture: first, America’s Shakespeare considered how the United States has made the Bard our own, and now Will & Jane examines the celebrity status of literary superstars William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. This month’s Folger Find is another example of how deeply Shakespeare… Continue Reading »


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