Posts Categorized: Scholarship-and-discovery

Coat of arms discovery yields new insights into Shakespeare

Dig deeper into one of the biggest Shakespeare stories of 2016: the discovery of previously unknown depictions of Shakespeare’s coat of arms. Folger Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe and Folger Director Michael Witmore elaborate on the significance of those discoveries and the insights they yield about Shakespeare.


The biggest Shakespeare stories of 2016

Let’s take a moment to revisit some of the biggest Shakespeare stories in the news this year, from the discoveries that grabbed headlines to the spectacular celebrations of the 400th anniversary to the celebrity performances that generated the most buzz. Discoveries and Scholarship Archaeologists have been busy this year. After taking hi-tech scans of Shakespeare’s… Continue Reading »


Folger copy 54: The First Folio as family scrapbook

Folger copy 54 of the First Folio, which traveled to Hawaii and California during the First Folio national tour in 2016, passed through the hands of many generations of one family for over 250 years before Henry Folger bought it in 1913. One of its nineteenth-century owners, Captain Charles Hutchinson, clearly valued the book as… Continue Reading »


Studying early modern women—in Shakespeare’s plays and in his time

By Esther Ferington The roles of early modern women in Shakespeare’s time—both the fictional characters in his plays and the real-life women of his era—have been central to many projects created by Georgianna Ziegler, Louis B. Thalheimer Associate Librarian and Head of Reference Emerita. Ziegler, who is also a co-founder of the Society for the… Continue Reading »


Folger curator shares new Shakespeare discoveries

Folger Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe dropped a bombshell in The New York Times this past week: Newly discovered depictions of Shakespeare’s coat of arms from the seventeenth century provide documentary evidence that while the heralds made the grant of arms to his father, William Shakespeare himself was intimately involved in the application and the ensuing controversy over… Continue Reading »


Happier without men? Shakespeare and Cervantes’ heroines, religious life, married life, and country life

Shakespeare’s heroines often end up with husbands who don’t seem good enough for them, while Cervantes might instead suggest it would be better to leave excellent women single—whether in the convent or outside the bounds of society. Does one option seem more satisfying, or are both hard to swallow? Cervantes specified that he should be… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and Cervantes: Dying well after living well

In The Art of Dying Well, the Italian Jesuit Robert Bellarmine, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, declares, “True, therefore, is the sentence, ‘He who lives well, dies well;’ and, ‘He who lives ill, dies ill.’” This year marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare—what might these two… Continue Reading »


Cervantes, the Moors of Spain, and the Moor of Venice

Of all Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is the one that is most frequently compared to Spanish literature in the age of Cervantes. This is due in large part to the role that jealousy plays in driving Othello to kill Desdemona. We might recall Iago’s famous warning: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; / It is the… Continue Reading »


Life of an icon: Shakespeare as playwright and poet

Fifty of the most important manuscripts and printed works related to Shakespeare’s life and career are on display in the Folger exhibition Shakespeare, Life of an Icon, curated by Heather Wolfe. Some of these documents mark important milestones for Shakespeare as a playwright and a poet. Others offer insight into how his work was received… Continue Reading »


Documenting the life of an icon: Shakespeare at 400 years

Shakespeare, Life of an Icon, the first of four special exhibitions at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2016, offers a fresh and intimate perspective on William Shakespeare as the London playwright, bestselling poet, and man from Stratford. This once-in-a-lifetime assemblage shares the documents that show us Shakespeare the man, four hundred years after his death.