Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Digital Resource of the Week: Rare Book Room

Through the publishing house Octavo, the Rare Book Room currently has over 400 digitized books available to read online. Many of the books are beautiful examples of the histories of print design, typography, and illustration.

You can search by subject such as literature (where you will find Shakespeare’s work), graphic arts (including a work by Bodoni), music (mostly Beethoven and Mozart), or photography (the Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs from the 1870s are here).

Many of the libraries that hold the original materials are right here in Philadelphia! In the drop-down menu for Find by Library, check out The American Antiquarian Society, The American Philosophical Society, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.

Please note that you will have to allow pop-ups on your web browser to use the site.

Here are some highlights of the collection:

A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
A book of hours - "Horae Beatae Mariae ad usum Romanum" - from 1524
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)
Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes, de Diverses Couleu" (1719)

 

Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
Lewis Carroll's "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass" illustrated by Blanche McManus, 1900
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475
German Christian text, unknown author, circa 1475

Digital Resources of the Week: Focus on Shakespeare

This week, we’ll look at some websites and open-access journals that focus on the authorship question surrounding Shakespeare. Who was William Shakespeare? Did someone else write his works or contribute to them? Why consider whether the unschooled Shakespeare was really the playwright? As Shakespeare biographer Samuel Schoenbaum notes, “there is something incomprehensible about genius. Shakespeare was superhuman.”

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

PBS’ Frontline claims, in The Shakespeare Mystery, that Edward de Vere, a poet and highly educated earl, was the real Shakespeare. Various debates and further readings will help you make up your mind for yourself. The Shakespeare-Oxford Society is also “dedicated to researching and honoring the true bard,” Edward de Vere. Their Authorship FAQ and Information Library helps to clarify why so many people question Shakespeare’s authenticity as a writer.

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe

Others believe Christopher Marlowe wrote much, if not all of Shakespeare’s work. The International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society was created by a group of scholars who have published works arguing in favor of Marlowe as our Elizabethan bard. They also have a terrific blog that keeps up to date on the controversy, citing excellent resources.

However, not everyone believes Shakespeare is too good to be true! Shakespeare Authorship is “dedicated to the proposition that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.” Designed much like a blog, Shakespeare Authorship refers to the readers to online resources intended to prove the author.

Want to learn more about this centuries-old debate? Search for Shakespeare William 1564 1616 Authorship in the UArts catalog.

Digital Resources of the Week: Focus on Shakespeare

Painting of William Shakespeare attributed to John Taylor, c. 1610.
Painting of William Shakespeare attributed to John Taylor, c. 1610.

For the month of April, we’ll look at some wonderful open-access (aka free!) resources on William Shakespeare, who was born in April 1564 and died in April 1616! This week, I’ll share some websites that give a general overview of the famous bard’s life and writing.

First up is the ever-classic Encyclopedia Britannica which has created a Guide to Shakespeare. This is a great place to start (besides the UArts Libraries, of course!) for anyone studying Shakespeare. The guide includes a comprehensive biography, synopsis of his plays, and audio and video of some of the plays’ greatest scenes.

Another excellent site that provides a great overview of Shakespeare is the Internet Shakespeare Editions. This resource covers the life and times of the bard and performances of his plays, and fully annotated text of his plays and poems.

Finally, make your professors proud and use Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation for your scholarly research! Borrowers and Lenders is an open-access, peer-reviewed multimedia journal dedicated to the scholarship on Shakespeare.

As always, don’t forget the resources at the UArts Libraries! The librarians here have put together an excellent subject guide on Shakespeare to help you navigate all the books, articles, and even more websites available to you. Also check out how many videos and DVDs we have of Shakespeare’s plays!