Excerpt: ‘Shakespeare and Lost Plays’ by David McInnis

When it comes to the theatrical landscape of Shakespeare’s London, there are the plays whose names we are familiar with — plays like Hamlet and Henry V — and then there are the plays that were being performed around the same time and that Shakespeare’s audiences would have known well, but that are lost to us today. Read an excerpt from a new book about these plays.


‘In the spiced Indian air’: Trading coin and cloth in the empire of the Great Mughal

The spiced air of India was the stuff of legend in Shakespeare’s England, and is brought to vivid life in this famous passage from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” These were images which Shakespeare knew his audiences would understand, during a period in which England had begun its sea voyages to Asia in earnest, and the fabulous possibilities of directly accessing the merchandise of India were being realized for the first time.



Recipe: A 17th-century potato pie with marrow and dates

Sweet potato pies, a beloved staple of North American fall and winter cooking, are baked out of mashed or blended sweet potatoes mixed with condensed milk, eggs, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and allspice. Few Americans and Canadians would think of such a dish as traditionally English, yet many cookery books written in England during the seventeenth century show that English people made and enjoyed pies like this. We decided to try one of these recipes, found in the Folger collection, during our recent Pi Day celebration.


Why the Folger has two sculptures of Puck

Erin Blake tells the story of how there came to be two Puck sculptures at the Folger, after the original marble sculpture was damaged.