A behind-the-scenes tour of the Folger conservation lab

Up on the third floor of the Folger Shakespeare Library, conservators work meticulously with rare books and other collection materials: preserving, repairing, preparing for display, and packaging for travel. Renate Mesmer, head of conservation, takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory for this Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episode. 


Would you buy a used car from William Shakespeare? How about mustard?

Would you buy a bicycle if William Shakespeare sold it to you? How about trading up to a Cadillac? Over the years, advertisers have counted on the novelty of Shakespeare, and his memorable characters, to sell their products. The brochure on the right parallels the literary achievement of Shakespeare with the automotive achievement of the… Continue Reading »


Beware the Ides of March

The Soothsayer says, “Beware the Ides of March.” Suddenly a chill falls on Caesar’s festive procession to the forum to celebrate the Lupercalia at the opening of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. The line is repeated three times—once by Brutus and twice by the Soothsayer—but is brushed aside by Caesar who responds, “He is a dreamer…. Continue Reading »



Life of an icon: Shakespeare as playwright and poet

Fifty of the most important manuscripts and printed works related to Shakespeare’s life and career are on display in the Folger exhibition Shakespeare, Life of an Icon, curated by Heather Wolfe. Some of these documents mark important milestones for Shakespeare as a playwright and a poet. Others offer insight into how his work was received… Continue Reading »


Teller and The Tempest: Magic in Shakespeare’s time

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm, charms his daughter to sleep, and uses his power to control Ariel and other spirits. Is this magic for real, or is Prospero pulling off elaborate illusions? Fascinated by this question and by Prospero’s relinquishing of magic at the play’s end, Teller (of the magic/comedy… Continue Reading »


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