“Spiritually speaking, many of us confronted with the thought of death perform the psychological equivalence of hiding in a box with our knees under our chin: Donne hunted death, battled it, killed it, saluted it, threw it parties.” Read more from Katherine Rundell in this excerpt from her new biography of the English poet John Donne, “Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne.”
Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond
Shakespeare’s plays provide ample opportunity for dramatic deaths onstage, and 18th-century English actors like David Garrick transformed simple stage directions in the text into “stirring set-pieces,” as Laurence Senelick writes in the below excerpt from his new book, “The Final Curtain: The Art of Dying on Stage.”
“Murphy may be the first person in history to subject laughter to such intensive and extensive study, at least from the perspective of a laughter professional,” writes Joy Wiltenburg about the 18th-century writer’s 500-page compilation of humor, in this excerpt from her book, “Laughing Histories.” Murphy’s commonplace book is part of the Folger collection.
See some of the Folger collection items that Charles and Camilla examined when they visited the Folger in 2005, including an early modern book on plants that got the prince’s attention.
In the opening scene of Jennifer Falkner’s novella “Susanna Hall, Her Book,” the queen of England has just arrived at New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon. But Susanna, the eldest daughter of William Shakespeare, has reasons for not wanting to host Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I.
Helen Hackett explores Shakespeare’s use of the soliloquy in “Hamlet,” including the famous “To be or not to be” speech, in this excerpt from her new book, “The Elizabethan Mind: Searching for the Self in an Age of Uncertainty,” published by Yale University Press.
Collecting extracts of text in commonplace books and binding multiple books together to create a sammelband were two notable practices of readers in the 16th and 17th centuries, as Jason Scott-Warren (University of Cambridge) explains in this excerpt from a Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episode about books and reading in Shakespeare’s England.
“Nowhere does Shakespeare attend more to theatrical enterprise and potential than in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” writes Michele Osherow, Folger Theatre’s resident dramaturg. “It makes the play irresistible to those who practice theatre and to those who crave its incomparable pleasures.” Read more in this playbill excerpt from Folger Theatre’s new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” onstage through August 28 as part of “The Playhouse” at the National Building Museum.
Take a closer look at some unusual chess sets in the Folger collection, spanning continents and centuries.
For each of these famous quotes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” can you fill in the blank with the missing word?