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Mr. William Shakespeares
Mr. William Shakespeares
Hamlet, Prince of
, 1794.

In 1991, the University of Delaware Library Associates selected the 1632 Second Folio edition of the work of William Shakespeare to celebrate the two-millionth volume added to the Library collection. While this is the most famous of Special Collections' Shakespeare holdings, there are over a hundred other editions of his works dating from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. They range from oversized illustrated editions from the nineteenth century to modern hand-made miniature books. An important recent addition was a 1794 single play edition of Hamlet, the first publication of Shakespeare in the United States. This humble volume, simply sewn and without a cover, helps the viewer understand how eighteenth-century readers would have accessed Shakespeare's work.

Special Collections also holds a number of works contemporary with Shakespeare. He was familiar with the histories of Raphael Holinshed and Edward Hall and the geography of John Stow and likely used them as historical background. By allowing students to see these resources, they gain a deeper understanding of Shakespeare and the world he lived in.

  • Edward Hall, d. 1547.
    The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and Yorke. 1550.
  • Raphael Holinshed, d. 1580?
    The chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. [London: s.n., 1587].
  • John Stow, 1525?-1605.
    A Svrvay of London : Contayning the Originall, Antiquity, Increase, Moderne Estate, and Description of that Citie Written in the Yeare 1598. London: Imprinted by Iohn Wolfe, Printer to the honorable citie of London, and are to be sold at his shop within the Popes head Alley in Lombard street, 1598.
  • Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies published according to the true originall copies. London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for John Smethwick, and are to be sold at his shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard, 1632.
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: a Tragedy: in Five Act; as performed at the theatre in Boston. Boston: Printed for David West, no. 36, Marlborough Street, and John West, no. 76, Cornhill [1794].
  • The Damatic Wrks of Shakspeare rev.; by George Steevens. London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co., for John and Josiah Boydell, G. and W. Nicol, 1802.
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets introduced and edited by Helen Vendler. San Francisco: Arion Press, c1997.

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