Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond

Folger Finds: A carved oak casket for holding a Shakespeare First Folio

Imagine buying a book and having the queen of England give you a special case in which to store it! That’s what happened after wealthy heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts purchased a Shakespeare First Folio in 1864: Queen Victoria gave her a carved casket made from Herne’s Oak, a tree at Windsor that had been felled by… Continue Reading »



Five Folger Finds for beating the heat and cooling off this summer

Is the July heat getting to you? Here are five items from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection that are just right for summertime. 1. A 1699 guide to swimming “In the seventeenth century, swimming was viewed not so much as a recreational pastime but more as an exercise in self-discipline and a mechanical art through… Continue Reading »


Quiz: It’s a Henry play. But which one?

Shakespeare wrote seven plays about kings named Henry, and it can be tricky sometimes to keep them all straight. See if you can identify each play based on a short plot description drawn from the Folger Shakespeare.


Folger Finds: Photographs of Hamlet in Japan

In a recent post on the Folger’s Collation blog, assistant curator Elizabeth DeBold shared a small set of photographs, newly added to the Folger collection, that document a 1933 Japanese production of Hamlet: These five photos provide a glimpse of a production of Hamlet performed at the Tsukiji Shogekijo, the “Tsukiji Little Theater,” aptly named… Continue Reading »


Richard III and disability: Excerpt – “Unfixable Forms” by Katherine Schaap Williams

What did Richard III and his disability represent to Shakespeare’s original audiences? And how has this Shakespeare villain shaped the field of early modern disability studies today? Katherine Schaap Williams takes a closer look at these questions in the below excerpt from her recently published book, Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance, and the Early Modern English… Continue Reading »


A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period

What was everyday life like for women throughout Tudor society? Elizabeth Norton, a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period, shares stories on the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast about the restrictions, but also some of the surprising freedoms, that touched these women’s lives. The excerpt below from our Shakespeare Unlimited interview with… Continue Reading »



Excerpt – “A Short History of Shakespeare in Performance” by Richard Schoch

How have directors sought to make Shakespeare productions relevant to contemporary political issues? What is it about these plays that makes them so politically resonant? Richard Schoch (Queen’s University Belfast) explores these questions in the excerpt below, taken from A Short History of Shakespeare in Performance, which was recently published as part of Cambridge University… Continue Reading »


Quiz: Shakespeare characters in disguise

Shakespeare’s plays are full of characters who pretend to be someone else. Take this quiz to see if you can match each character with the false name they assume as part of their disguise.