Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond



Up Close: A poll book from the 1710 election in London

Voting was not a secret process in early modern England. The poll book shown here published the names of all the voters in London and which candidates and party they voted for in 1710.


Roast joint of mutton: A recipe from ‘Fat Rascals’

John Tufts is an award-winning actor and the author of “Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare’s Table,” a cookbook featuring over 150 authentic recipes straight out of Shakespeare’s plays. Here, he shares his recipe for a roast joint of mutton, inspired by a line from Henry IV, Part 2.


Dante vs. Shakespeare: An excerpt from ‘Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles’ by Harold Bloom

The excerpt begins: “Dante, poet and man, is obsessive. This is particularly true in the Latin meaning of the word: besiege or be besieged. Shakespeare’s protagonists sometimes are obsessive or besieged. Yet they can and do change. Leontes emerges from his madness. Prospero acknowledges Caliban, this thing of darkness, as his own. Falstaff dies, plucking at flowers and singing the twenty-third Psalm. Dante or Shakespeare? We need not choose. Who are we to choose? They choose us or pass us by.”


Quiz: Complete these famous Shakespeare lines

Take this quiz to see if you remember what comes after famous lines from Shakespeare plays like “All the world’s a stage” and “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.


Up Close: An 18th-century caricature of the Shakespeare-forging William Henry Ireland and his family

This hand-colored caricature from 1797, “The Oaken Chest or the Gold Mines of Ireland, a Farce,” satirizes William Henry Ireland and his family in their forgery of the “Shakespeare Papers.” The print is full of delightful details that will make you chuckle. Get an up-close look and learn more about this Folger collection item by clicking through the arrows to see captions that zoom in on different parts of the image.


Order It: Macbeth’s “Out, out, brief candle!”

As the play’s climactic battle approaches, Macbeth is told of his wife’s death. He responds, “She should have died hereafter. There would have been a time for such a word.” And then he launches into one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, about the fleeting and fragile nature of life. Can you correctly order these lines from Act 5, Scene 5?