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31 January 2017: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is a man who generally needs no introduction. His words and lyrics have remained in the everyday English language. This is no mean feat considering hundreds of years have passed since they were first put to page (and stage).The Bard of Avon is seen as the world’s pre-eminent dramatist, and for good reason, his plays are still widely performed and adapted today.

Last year was the four-hundred year anniversary of Shakespeare's death and yet his legacy is still prominent today with numerous critical texts, films and television about the man;  he even has a twitter account. It is also known that Shakespeare invented over 1700 common words we use today, among which are ‘gloomy’, ‘mimic’, ‘critic’ and ‘advertising’.
Speaking of advertising...everybody needs a copy of Shakespeare’s complete works on their shelf. Therefore, we are using this blog post to share some of the beautiful works of Shakespeare we have in addition to some of the Shakespeare-related, critical and fictional, works in our library. 
The first on our list is this gorgeous ten volume set of Shakespeare's Complete Works. In a Bickers and Son binding, the gilt stamping to the spine glows from the contrasting brown straight grained morocco. With a frontispiece to the first four volumes this lovely set is the fanous Alexander Dyce edition. Dyce was one of the first popular Shakespeare scholars and is regarded as rescuing much of the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries from otherwise neglectful eighteenth and nineteenth century scholars. Click here to see our listing.
Shakespeare's Heroines is a work by Mrs Anna Brownell Jameson and the subject is as the title implies. Jameson analyses many of Shakespeare's heroines including Portia, Isabella, Juliet, Viola, Hermoine and Imogen. She categorizes them under 'Characters of Intellect', 'Characters of Passion and Imagination', 'Characters of Affections' and 'Historical Characters'. Not only is the topic of this work fascinating but it is in a beautiful Tomes binding and is filled with ornate illustrated headpieces. Click here to see our listing.
Another work regarding Shakespeare's heroines is The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines. This work, by Mary Cowden Clarke contains fifteen short stories based on the childhood of Shakespeare's female characters. The stories are set before his plays and provides new insights into these much loved characters. The characters include Isabella, Desdemona, Juliet and Beatrice. Click here to see one of our many copies. 
A Life of William Shakespeare is a famous biographical work on the bard. It explains the little that is known of Shakespeare's life and links it contextually to his works. There are numerous illustrations throughout this work, which is one of Sir Sidney Lee's many biographies. Lee was assistant-editor and eventually editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. He was quite the authority on Shakespeare, having edited the Oxford facsimile edition of the first folio of Shakespeare's comedies, histories and tragedies. Click here to see our listing of this work. 
Another critical work we have on Shakespeare himself is Was Shakespeare a Lawyer? This work is a presentation copy from the author and delves into the possibility of the bard having a career in law. The author uses passages from Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well to illustrate their points. Click here for a link to our listing. 
We also have a fascinating work to provide context on the Stratford on Avon of Shakesepare's times. Stratford on Avon From the Earliest Times to the Death of Shakespeare examines the town from a historical and geographical viewpoint. It is illustrated throughout with sketches of historical scenes around the town and was written by Sidney Lee, the same author as the biography previously mentioned. Click here for our listing. 
To finish this blog post we have two single-volume works of Shakespeare. The first is an ornately bound c1900 copy of his works. It boasts numerous colour plates from paintings by G Demain Hammond and an introduction by Irish critic Professor Edward Dowden. Click here to view. The second is an 1859 edition edited by Charles Knight. It has a rather fantastic frontispiece displaying several well known portraits of Shakespeare. There are also numerous notes and biographical details written by Knight. Click here and here to see each listing. 
This is just a small selection of the beautiful and interesting Shakespeare texts we have on our website. Feel free to have a peruse for more, and contact us if you are looking for anything in particular! 

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