University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and faculty from the classics, literature and history departments are bidding the death of William Shakespeare a “most joyous 400th annivers’ry,” with the exhibit “Shakespeare and His World.”
The exhibit begins with an opening reception at 5 p.m. on April 1, held in 222 Love South as a part of the First Friday Art Walk, and will continue throughout the month.
Carole Levin, professor and director of UNL’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, helped plan the event. She is particularly excited about the display of the First Folio, the 1623 published collection of Shakespeare’s plays, which contains 36 official works.
“I’m so excited that UNL is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare in such a great way,” Levin said.
For the exhibit, UNL Archives will display its First Folio on April 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the lower-level display case, along with many other images and items documenting Shakespeare’s works, world, contemporaries and sources.
“It is impressive and wonderful that Love Library owns a First Folio,” Levin said. “There’s a little stain on one of the pages. It seems like a 17th century reader was drinking red wine while reading a play.”
Professor of libraries Kathleen Johnson said a group of faculty members and library staff including Levin, English professor Stephen Buhler, University Libraries photograph and exhibits specialist Traci Robison, web content and design specialist Melissa Sinner and graphics designer Erin Colonna have been working hard on the exhibit.
Levin said the group decided to focus on Shakespeare’s world to include the context behind Shakespeare’s works.
“I always think it’s important to put it in context, and although Shakespeare’s work is enduring, it’s important to look at his time and ask, ‘What did he grow out of? What were his attitudes? What history did he study?’” she said.
To give students these connections, the exhibits will include English kings and queens, costumes of the late 16th and early 17th centuries and demonology documents. Johnson said these exhibits will explore the question, “How did this influence Shakespeare?”
Levin said she is most looking forward to exposing students to Shakespeare.
“I want people to see this as incredibly fun and interesting,” Levin said.