Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Essential Texts

So you’re learning about a play by Shakespeare. Besides a copy of the play (that uses Shakespeare’s language, of course), what else would be useful to have? Here are a few that we find useful:

Shakespeare Lexicon by Alexander Schmidt Vol 1, Vol 2

This two-volume set helps to contextualize the words and phrases that may not roll as trippingly on the tongue as more modern phrases might.  When playing the scene as an actor, students may find this helpful in putting meaning behind their words. (The “Vol” links above are to digitized copies of the texts available through the Internet Archive).

See also: Shakespeare’s Words by David Crystal and Ben Crystal

The Shakespeare Book of Lists by Michael LoMonico

One-stop quick-read for a guide to Shakespeare’s plays, life, and lists for any subject imaginable! Perfect for students comparing villains, or looking for great speeches to memorize for extra credit.

See Also: Reduced Shakespeare by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor.

Shakespeare A to Z by Charles Boyce

Who’s who? Where was this? This quick-reference guide gives essential information about characters and places from both Shakespeare’s life and his plays that students might find helpful when researching their roles or Shakespeare’s biography.

See Also: Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov  (contains maps of each play’s locations).
A Dictionary of Who, What and Where in Shakespeare by Sandra Clark

We have all of these books on our shelves in the Education Office at the Folger.

Have you found any additional resources helpful while teaching Shakespeare? Let us know in the comments!