Posts Tagged: Shakespeare

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 »


Would you buy a used car from William Shakespeare? How about mustard?

Would you buy a bicycle if William Shakespeare sold it to you? How about trading up to a Cadillac? Over the years, advertisers have counted on the novelty of Shakespeare, and his memorable characters, to sell their products. The brochure on the right parallels the literary achievement of Shakespeare with the automotive achievement of 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 »


Teller and The Tempest: Magic in Shakespeare’s time

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm, charms his daughter to sleep, and uses his power to control Ariel and other spirits. Is this magic for real, or is Prospero pulling off elaborate illusions? Fascinated by this question and by Prospero’s relinquishing of magic at the play’s end, Teller (of the magic/comedy… 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.


Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, and the president’s assassination

Growing up on the frontier, Abraham Lincoln had few books to read in his early days—but among them were the works of Shakespeare, which Lincoln cherished throughout his life. The actor Joseph Jefferson later told the story of how Lincoln, as a young lawyer, successfully defended his father’s Illinois theater when a religious revival threatened… Continue Reading »


Hamlet wasn’t always the prince with the common touch

When we think about Shakespeare on the stage we usually imagine two different historical moments: ‘then’ and ‘now’. ‘Then’ is Shakespeare’s lifetime, when Richard Burbage, the original Hamlet, first spoke ‘To be or not to be’ from the stage of the Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside. ‘Now’ is the present moment, whether for audiences at… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare, the ultimate connector

Once again, Shakespeare. This year the Folger is leading a nationwide celebration—The Wonder of Will—to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, or better, the fifth century of his afterlife. Why do we keep returning to this writer? There are many answers to this question. One is that he belongs to no one, and so potentially… Continue Reading »


Revisit the top five Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episodes of 2015

We covered a lot in our podcast about Shakespeare this year, from the popular William Shakespeare’s Star Wars adaptation to the Bard’s legacy in Hong Kong and the Caribbean to the evolution of stage design for Shakespeare’s plays.


A very special Christmas gift

Folger Finds delivers delightful and insightful moments with the Folger collection. Sarah Hovde, a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shares the story behind a book that belonged to the library’s founder. Many of us have probably given or received books for Christmas. Sometimes we’ve inscribed the book with a personal message, or have added… Continue Reading »