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Uncovering Shakespeare

Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 10:00am
To Friday, May 06, 2016

uncovering shakespeare collagePages from Pequot: Uncovering Shakespeare features items from Pequot Library's Special Collections of rare books and materials. The exhibition will run from February 16 - May 6, 2016. It is open during normal library hours, admission is free.

In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, this exhibition showcases more than 20 rare and historic books from 1623 to the twentieth century which are part of Pequot Library’s Special Collection, including a portion of the First Folio, the Second Folio, Third Folio, and Fourth Folio.

Shakespeare would probably have been lost to us without the First Folio. Published in 1623, the First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, and only 233 copies are known today.

On the gallery walls, art reproductions from the historic books will be on display. A collection of Shakespeare books with Eric Gill woodcuts and original Eric Gill Shakespearean art work from the early 20th century will also be on view. The exhibition books on display will rotate mid-way through the exhibition. Written and interpretative text to accompany the books will be provided.

This exhibition will also discuss the Shakespeare controversy and present information to encourage viewers to question the identity of the writer of the "Shakespearean" plays and poems. A book display of Shakespeare works and Shakespeare biographies will be on display in the Reading Room.

Shakespeare is a canonical, timeless playwright, who is often considered the most important writer in English literature and drama. Due to the number and physical size of Pequot’s historic rare book Shakespeare material, Pequot Library will change the books on display and install new books with didactic labels mid-way through its exhibition. This will refresh our exhibition and encourage visitors to come back to enjoy more exciting Shakespeare material and programs.

Objects to be displayed:

  • Four 17th Century Folios (1623, 1632, 1663, 1683)
  • The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare: Volume the Sixth Consisting of Tragedies printed at The Theatre (1744)
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor with illustrations by Hugh Thomson (1910)
  • Seven Hudson Goodwin Books of the The Player’s Shakespeare, printed from the First Folio of 1623 at the Shakespeare Head Press (1923-27)
  • Ten Books of New Temple Shakespeare with Eric Gill woodcuts (1934-5)
  • Various Eric Gill Original Shakespeare Drawings/prints
  • Original Bodleian Copy of the First Folio (1905)
  • Norton Facsimile of First Folio (1968)

For the last 400 years, Shakespeare’s works have influenced numerous pieces of literature, as well as music, culture, and even everyday phrases. Learning about Shakespeare’s work enables us to begin to make connections and understand larger values and beliefs within our society. It is our hope that people will understand more about Shakespeare, but that they will also gain a curiosity for exactly who Shakespeare was.  Visitors will explore the plays of Shakespeare and the origins of the Folios, and his humble beginnings.

•    Gain a greater appreciation of Shakespeare and his work
•    Understand the importance of the historic Shakespeare materials that are owned by Pequot
•    Become more curious about Shakespeare, and engage in dialogue
•    Encourage dialogue from people from different backgrounds and various ages to share their perspective on Shakespeare and his relevance
•    Think about Shakespeare, his work, and his influence in a new way

The uniqueness of this exhibition is not only the high quality of the material that will be presented, but also the diversity of programs and audiences served through Pequot’s Educational Outreach Initiative.

Location : Rare Book Cases in the Reading Room and The Perkin Gallery
Contact : (203) 259-0346 ext. 15