Brush Up Your Shakespeare

shakespeare : William Shakespeare on engraving from the 1850s. English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language.


Okay, I admit it. I love Shakespeare! The older I get, the more appreciative I am.


The Plays

The Sonnets

Biographies of Shakespeare

Novels Based on Shakespeare

Harper, Karen. Mistress Shakespeare. 2010. Tells the story of Anne Whateley, Shakespeare’s betrothed at the time he married Anne Hathaway. Vivid characters and exciting portrait of a historical time and place.


Shakespeare for Children

Charles and Mary Lamb. Tales from Shakespeare. This book got me interested in, and excited about, Shakespeare’s plays at the age of nine. It’s been through many reprints, and I’ve reread it over the years in quiet and nostalgic moments. Today, I have a student edition that lists stories from all the plays. I also love an illustrated edition that is much less complete. My preference, however, is an entire version.

Reference Works

Willes, Margaret. A Shakespearean Botanical. University of Chicago Press, 2015.


I love the Folger Shakespeare Library, and wish I could qualify as a scholar there. When a friend and I were there in May to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company performance (hysterically funny, fast-paced, and original), we took in  the free exhibit,”America’s  Shakespeare,” which started on April 7 and ends on July 24, 2016. It examines performances, advertisements, literature, educational material and pop culture through US history. The exhibit booklet is an informative resource and memento.




Elizabethan History

MacGregor, Neil. Shakespeare’s Restless World: An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects. Published by the British Museum and the BBC, April 2013.  LOVE, LOVE, love this one!!  I couldn’t get enough, and it led me to other works on Elizabethan history. An excellent introduction.

Cultural Resources

Shakespearean Humor

Newspaper Stories





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