Knots, cookies, and women’s skill

A plate of beautifully baked cookies is a wonderful thing. It is a welcoming gesture for guests, it signifies a holiday or a special meal, and it is a demonstration of a baker’s skill at making something pleasing to the eye and the palate. In Shakespeare’s England, bakers in elite households prepared sugar sculptures, confectionary,… Continue Reading »


Seven Christmas gift ideas for Shakespeare fans

We’ve got seven Shakespeare-themed holiday gift ideas for you, selected from the Folger Shop and all less than $20. Find something for your friends, your family members, or yourself. And if you would like more ideas, see our eight present picks from last year and our five present picks from the year before. Member Holiday… Continue Reading »



The Queen of the Night: The infinite variety of Cleopatra

In the image above, Constance Collier, magnificent as the dying Cleopatra, sits on her throne in a dimly-lit room, light sparkling off her crown, belt and spangled train. This 1906-07 London production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is considered a high point in the stage history of that play, with director/actor Herbert Beerbohm-Tree sparing no… Continue Reading »


Venus and Adonis: The classical myth that inspired Shakespeare’s epic poem and John Blow’s 17th-century opera

What many consider to be the earliest known English opera shares its mythological subject with Shakespeare’s most popular published work during his lifetime: the epic poem Venus and Adonis. Here we see great artists from different centuries using different art forms to make new creations from the same source material, putting their own mark on… Continue Reading »