Quiz: It’s a Henry play. But which one?

Shakespeare wrote seven plays about kings named Henry, and it can be tricky sometimes to keep them all straight. See if you can identify each play based on a short plot description drawn from the Folger Shakespeare.


Folger Finds: Photographs of Hamlet in Japan

In a recent post on the Folger’s Collation blog, assistant curator Elizabeth DeBold shared a small set of photographs, newly added to the Folger collection, that document a 1933 Japanese production of Hamlet: These five photos provide a glimpse of a production of Hamlet performed at the Tsukiji Shogekijo, the “Tsukiji Little Theater,” aptly named… Continue Reading »


Richard III and disability: Excerpt – “Unfixable Forms” by Katherine Schaap Williams

What did Richard III and his disability represent to Shakespeare’s original audiences? And how has this Shakespeare villain shaped the field of early modern disability studies today? Katherine Schaap Williams takes a closer look at these questions in the below excerpt from her recently published book, Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance, and the Early Modern English… Continue Reading »


“This is the English, not the Turkish court”: Ottomans in Shakespeare’s Henriad

In Shakespeare’s Henriad – Richard II (1595), Henry IV Part I (1596), Henry IV Part II (1597), and Henry V (1599) – English Christian characters frequently employ negative Turkish tropes when criticizing each other’s corrupt political agendas. However, these tropes differ from the more positive characterizations of the Ottomans found in English chronicles of Turkish history. By… Continue Reading »


What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?

You’d think I’d have a better answer to the question, “What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?” — but it’s complicated. I have favorite lines, of course; favorite speeches, favorite characters. But as beautiful and complicated as Shakespeare can be on the page, for me he lives and dies on the stage, and like all rich banquets,… Continue Reading »


A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period

What was everyday life like for women throughout Tudor society? Elizabeth Norton, a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period, shares stories on the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast about the restrictions, but also some of the surprising freedoms, that touched these women’s lives. The excerpt below from our Shakespeare Unlimited interview with… Continue Reading »