The Folger Manuscript Book of Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

The Folger’s outstanding collection is usually associated with Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but scholars who focus on women writers of Restoration and eighteenth-century literature know that the Folger holds the most important manuscript book of the works of poet and playwright Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720). Admired by writers as different as Jonathan Swift,… Continue Reading »


Cursing Coriolanus and combating cornhoarders

In 1608, famine plagued England. Preachers responded with sermons begging the gentry to show compassion for the poor, King James I responded with royal proclamations against grain hoarding, and Shakespeare responded with Coriolanus, a Roman revenge-tragedy. Likely composed in 1608 and staged c. 1609-1610, Coriolanus opens with starving citizens storming the stage with rakes, pikes,… Continue Reading »


“The way to save wealth; showing how a man may live plentifully for two-pence a day”: A 17th-century guide to frugal living

A common New Year’s resolution is to save more money, and there are numerous personal-finance books and websites that offer step-by-step plans for spending less, whether out of present necessity or in the hope of reaching a future financial goal. Seeking tips and tricks to live more frugally is nothing new, of course. Thomas Tryon’s… Continue Reading »


Introducing Wild Things: Animals in early modern life and culture

How many animals have you encountered today, and in what forms? From pets and urban species such as squirrels and sparrows, to meat products and leather, the number may surprise you. Even for those of us who live in human-built spaces, like cities and suburbs, animals and animal bodies are still everyday aspects of human… Continue Reading »


Year in review: Top Shakespeare & Beyond stories of 2019

What were some of our most popular stories this year? Let’s take a look. Recipe adaptations and blog posts about food culture We published several recipes in conjunction with First Chefs: Fame and Foodways from Britain to the Americas (Jan 19 – Mar 31, 2019), including one for pirate botanist William Hughes’s hot chocolate, which… Continue Reading »