Core Curriculum : Literature Humanities

Shakespeare > Introduction

Bust of Shakespeare

Bust of Shakespeare

English, ca 1800

Columbia RBML Plimpton Collection

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Relatively little is known about William Shakespeare's life although the words attributed to him have profoundly impacted not just English literature but the English language. Whether Shakespeare's plays were written by an individual or collaboratively within the theater company The King's Men continues to be debated, but Shakespeare's name was the one attached to his plays and poetry from the earliest publications, the initial quarto editions and later the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Folios.

For an online exhibition on Shakespeare and the Book, inspired by David Kastan's 2001 study of the same name, see. The physical version of this exhibit was on display in the RBML during the Fall of 2001. David Kastan, was a professor at Columbia University from 1987 to 2008.

Columbia University Libraries / Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5590 /