Recipes for dealing with the plague in Shakespeare’s England

Recipes for plague-curing potions like “Doctor Burges’s remedy” are often found in household recipe books of Shakespeare’s time. Folger fellow Yann Ryan writes about the circulation of information and misinformation through these recipes.



The sanitized Shakespeare of Mary Lamb and Henrietta Bowdler – Excerpt: ‘Shakespeare’s Lady Editors’ by Molly Yarn

As anyone who has read Shakespeare’s plays can attest, their content is not always very appropriate for children: brutal murders, bawdy jokes, incest, etc. Editions of Shakespeare’s plays that have been designed specifically for children often omit or smooth over things that parents might find objectionable. In the 19th century, access to Shakespeare was restricted not just for children but also for young women, as Molly Yarn explores in this excerpt from ‘Shakespeare’s Lady Editors’.


Is Shakespeare for everyone?

Austin Tichenor makes the case for why we should say “Shakespeare is for anyone who wants him” instead of “Shakespeare is for everyone.”


The unlikely link between a sixth-century queen and Macbeth

While working on “The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry that Forged the Medieval World,” Shelley Puhak stumbled across a connection between her subjects and Shakespeare. Her book is a dual biography of Brunhild and Fredegund, two queens who, as long-term regents for their underage male relatives, ruled over most of sixth-century Western Europe. Fredegund was born a slave; Brunhild was a Visigoth princess. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, they ended up as sisters-in-law and political rivals who negotiated with emperors and popes, revitalized cities, revamped tax policy, and conducted a decades-long civil war—against each other. Echoes of one conflict in that war, the 593 Battle of Droizy, have been preserved in Macbeth’s final act, when Birnam Wood arrives at Dunsinane.


Picturing early modern women athletes

Folger fellow Peter Radford explores the history of picturing women athletes from ancient Greece to early modern Europe, how these images can be hard to find and interpret, but also why they’re so valuable and compelling.