Saturday, 2 August 2008

Shakespeare Centre and Library Archive: July, 18th 2008

(photo taken from:

If you are not a fan of Shakespeare, you surely will be if you have the opportunity we did today to visit the Shakespeare Centre and Library Archive. Clare Maffioli served as our host and gave us an overview of the history of the library as well as the collection. The Library and Records Office houses Shakespeare and Local Collections to include printed book collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Royal Shakespeare Company as well as books, photographs, and maps relating to Stratford-upon-Avon. I found the latter collection most significant when Jo Wilding, the User Services Librarian, presented a collection centered around Midsummer's Nights Dream. She included various resources that hinted to both the cultural and environmental impact on Shakespeare's work. I found this presentation to provide a more holistic approach to analysis of his work and the times. The library own 3 of the first editions of Shakespeare's folios that date back to 1623 as well as first editions of his plays.

We also had to opportunity to see some of the archived materials of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Each time we entered a different space, we were further awe struck by the depth of the collection. The collection includes records of individual Shakespeare productions. These records are comprised of reviews, costume design, photographs, posters, and videos. There is also a collection dedicated to Shakespeare himself. The latter includes periodicals and journals dedicated to the study of Shakespeare, editions of 17th century quartos and editions of his work dating back to 1709, as well as translation of his plays and biographical information.

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