Posts Categorized: Off-the-shelf


A Folger Summer Reading List

Check out summer reading recommendations from friends, colleagues, and partners.


Excerpt – ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet was William Shakespeare’s only son, but he died in 1596 at the age of 11. Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, Hamnet, imagines a story in which a young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. They marry and start a family in Stratford-upon-Avon. But as the… Continue Reading »


Excerpt – ‘Lady Romeo’ by Tana Wojczuk

American actress Charlotte Cushman was a 19th-century theatrical icon, known for playing traditionally male roles like Romeo and Hamlet. She was not the only actress of her time to play these parts, but her style was uniquely assertive and athletic. However, her breakout acting role was Lady Macbeth.


Excerpt ⁠— Keith Hamilton Cobb’s ‘American Moor’: An introduction by Kim Hall

At the heart of Keith Hamilton Cobb’s one-man play American Moor are explorations of blackness, racial dynamics in American theater, “ownership” of Shakespeare, and the subtext of Othello. He has performed the play across the United States, including an off-Broadway run in 2019, and now the script has been published by Methuen Drama: Keith Hamilton… Continue Reading »



Excerpt – “How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education” by Scott Newstok

What habits of mind should we seek to cultivate? In his new book How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education, Scott Newstok draws on Shakespeare’s plays and common instructional practices of his day to answer this question. One of these practices is conversation, the subject of the chapter from which the below… Continue Reading »


Prospero’s epilogue as Shakespeare’s farewell? Excerpt – ‘This is Shakespeare’ by Emma Smith

In this excerpt from her new book, This is Shakespeare (published Mar 31 in the United States), Emma Smith probes the biographical interpretations that readers have layered over Shakespeare’s plays, particularly The Tempest, and how that shapes what we think of as their chronology and the arc of Shakespeare’s life and career. Underpinning these interpretations… Continue Reading »


7 excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels

Looking to escape in a good book? Take a break from non-fiction, and read these excerpts from Shakespeare-inspired novels that we’ve featured in the past two years on Shakespeare & Beyond.


“The Taming of the Shrew” on the American stage before “Kiss Me, Kate”: An excerpt from “Shakespeare in a Divided America” by James Shapiro

The Taming of the Shrew is often referred to as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” because of its controversial depiction of gender roles; last year’s Broadway production of Kiss Me, Kate, the 1948 musical based on The Taming of the Shrew, revived discussions of the sexism at the heart of the story and its 16th-century… Continue Reading »