Will and Jane go to war

During World War I, the works of Shakespeare and Austen reached American troops on active duty through the American Library Association’s “War Service Library” program.  Between 1917 and 1920, the program collected donations of used books to help them distribute reading materials to the military, ultimately amounting to over 100 million books and magazines to… Continue Reading »


Will and Jane continued: adaptations, modernizations, and fan fiction

Although the Bard may have a longer history of such flattery, both Will and Jane have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous adaptations. In the 20th century, Austen joined Shakespeare in his entrance into modern media—film, television, and digital forms—as well as print spin-offs, fan fiction, radical modernizations, and even travesties. Beginning less than a… 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 »



Quiz: Can you pair these Jane Austen and Shakespeare characters?

Take this quiz and test your knowledge of Jane Austen and Shakespeare! We give you a character from a Jane Austen novel, and you pick the corresponding character from Shakespeare’s plays, based on personality or storyline.


Excerpt: ‘Irregular Unions’ by Katharine Cleland

Katharine Cleland examines Jessica and Lorenzo’s clandestine marriage in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” in this excerpt from her book “Irregular Unions.”



A history of Theatre Royal Haymarket and its struggle to break through London’s restrictions on Shakespeare

During a time when performing Shakespeare in London was a legal right belonging only to certain theaters, the Haymarket theater’s rise to greatness is directly linked to its struggle to break through these restrictions.  To celebrate its 300th birthday this year, we wanted to share some highlights from its history, its fight to produce Shakespeare,… Continue Reading »


The King, Prince Hal, and Falstaff: Shakespeare’s father-son triangle onstage and onscreen

One of Shakespeare’s most moving love triangles isn’t romantic, it’s filial. The tension between Prince Hal and his two father figures — King Henry IV and Sir John Falstaff — fuels both parts of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and resonates strongly throughout Henry V, grounding these history plays in emotional richness. How these relationships are depicted… Continue Reading »


Five women artists: Interpreting Shakespeare through sculpture and book art

This blog post spotlights five female artists whose interpretations of Shakespeare’s works are part of the Folger collection. We decided to highlight three sculptors and two book artists. Several of these artists and their work have been featured on The Collation, a Folger blog about research, scholarship, and the Folger collection.