“To be or not to be.” “My kingdom for a horse.” “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day.” How is it that Shakespeare is so well remembered? In this richly illustrated book, David Scott Kastan and Kathryn James explore Yale University’s extraordinary collection of works by or relating to William Shakespeare. They chart the winding course by which the playwright has been remembered, often in unexpected ways, for some four centuries.
Many of the rare items illustrated and discussed in the book have never before been publicly displayed. The authors examine such treasures as the earliest known manuscript of Macbeth, a sixteenth-century reader’s notes on Shakespeare, and a proof copy of Walt Whitman’s “Shakespeare-Bacon’s Cipher,” to show how various, idiosyncratic acts of memory over hundreds of years have given us the texts, and even the person, we remember as “Shakespeare.”