Posts Categorized: Off-the-shelf


These Violent Delights: Retelling Romeo and Juliet

Chloe Gong writes about adapting “Romeo and Juliet” into her debut novel, “These Violent Delights,” which focuses on the blood feud at the heart of Shakespeare’s play. The story is about two teen heirs of rival gangs in 1920s Shanghai.



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.”



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 »