The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Folger Tooltips: updates on links to early Shakespeare editions

Hello dear readers:

Past tooltip posts have highlighted various efforts at digital outreach to academics, e.g., via links to our Digital image database from Hamnet, or from finding aids. But fulfilling the mission of the Folger requires more than that—among other things, we also aim to provide digital access to the collection for multiple additional audience types, from teachers at all levels, to young students, to life-long learners.

The Folger website gets a LOT of hits, as a source for information about Shakespeare and early modern Europe trusted by various audiences. The section called “Discover Shakespeare” is usually near the top of the list. Written for a general audience (rather than a scholarly one), this area of our website includes details about the life of William Shakespeare, a section developed by the Folger’s K-12 Education Division on Shakespeare for Kids (one of the very-highest-ranking across the full website), and much more. 

So today’s post highlights a modest new feature of the play-by-play-by-poetry subsection about the works of Shakespeare: these pages about each play and about the poetry now link directly to page-by-page views of early printed works from pages providing brief discursive entries on the plays. For instance, those interested in Hamlet can now proceed directly from the right sidebar on a page based on prefatory essays in Barbara Mowat’s and Paul Werstine’s 1992 Folger edition of Hamlet … to page images from the Folio text of Hamlet, to any of the four quarto editions owned by the Folger, or to the thirty-six copies of the five quarto editions available online in the Shakespeare Quartos Archive.

We have added similar links to page images of First Folio texts for all thirty-six descriptions of plays in Discover Shakespeare’s discussions of Shakespeare’s Works, and will be methodically adding additional links to high resolution page images of quarto editions of the plays in the coming days. Coming soon will be a fully-digitized 1632 Second Folio; once launched links to those images will be provided here as well.

One aim of the Tooltips posts has been to help extend access to vault material:  not just for those conducting research in our Reading Rooms, but also for those who may never step inside our doors. Whichever group you may count yourself among, we will continue to maximize opportunities for closer online peeks at (or extended reads of?) our primary source material.

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