New Exhibit Features Shakespeare and His 18th-Century Editors

Editing Shakespeare PosterIn recognition this year of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Armstrong Browning Library’s new exhibit Editing Shakespeare features significant eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare’s collected works from the library’s Stokes Shakespeare Collection.

The exhibit, currently on display in the Hankamer Treasure Room, was curated by ABL intern Hannah Schwartz, a junior University Scholar with concentrations in linguistics and English literature. Hannah spent the summer at the ABL researching the materials in the Stokes Shakespeare Collection, selecting specific items for display, and writing exhibit labels.

Here are a few things Hannah had to say about her experience as an ABL intern and first-time exhibit curator.

Why were you interested in an internship with the Armstrong Browning Library?

“I was very excited when I heard about the internship at the ABL because it was one of the few humanities research internships that I’d been able to find. The fact that I would be able to do research about Shakespeare (one of my favorite writers) in the ABL (one of my favorite buildings on campus) made me even more interested in the internship.”

Installing Editing Shakespeare

ABL intern Hannah Schwartz installs Editing Shakespeare in the Hankamer Treasure Room

How will the skills you developed during this internship help you in your course work and in your career goals?

“This internship has provided me with valuable research and writing experience that will serve me well as I continue with my education. In addition, I’ve gained a few new skills that may come in handy in a future educational or career setting: exhibit label writing and rare book handling. I’ve had the opportunity to explore library science and exhibit curation, two career fields that I had not previously considered but am now interested in. In addition, the information I’ve learned about printing and editing in the eighteenth century has given me many interesting things to think about as I begin to consider options for my senior honors thesis.”

Portrait of Alexander Pope

Portrait of Alexander Pope from John Bell’s 1788 edition of Shakespeare’s collected works

What is your favorite item in the exhibit? What makes it particularly interesting to you?

“My favorite item in the exhibit is the first volume of the 1788 Bell edition. The books in [John] Bell’s edition are tiny and illustrated, making them neat to look through. The first volume is my favorite because it includes portraits of several of the editors who preceded Bell. It was a fun surprise to open up the book and see engravings of the men I’d spent so much time researching. Several of them don’t look at all like I’d expected!”

Editing Shakespeare is on display until December 22, 2016. The Armstrong Browning Library is grateful for the donor support that makes library internship experiences for graduate and undergraduate students possible.

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