Shakespeare In Shackles

January 7, 2015 // 2 Comments

Text by Jeremy Berlin On a windy April day in central Indiana, six men enter a room.Three are white, three are black. Two are over 50, the rest under 40. All of them wear khaki jumpsuits and carry books under their tattooed arms.They are six of the 1,840 inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a Level 4 maximum-security prison. Built in 1923, its Spanish Colonial Revival buildings and grassy courtyards once housed John Dillinger. The men sit in a semicircle, facing a chalkboard and two visitors. One is the instructor, a gray-bearded man with glasses. The other is a guest speaker: a tall woman in her mid-50s with keen blue eyes and flaxen hair streaked silver. This is her first time in Pendleton. But she knows one of the inmates, kept in another part of the prison, very well. “Remember,” she tells the men in the room, speaking cheerfully with a Midwestern cadence, “make what you read today relevant.” One of the youngest men, wearing a green knit cap [...]

One of Shakespeare’s Rare First Folios Discovered in French Library

December 6, 2014 // 0 Comments

December 1, 2014 By Sarah Pruitt While preparing an exhibit on English-language literature last fall, staff members of the public library in Saint-Omer, near Calais, pulled what they thought was an unremarkable old book off the shelves. Instead, it turned out to be a first folio of William Shakespeare’s plays, of which only around 230 are known to exist. As no known manuscripts of his plays survive, the first folio has been credited with preserving much of Shakespeare’s work, and has been called the most important book in the history of English literature. Edited by Shakespeare’s friends and fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell, the first folio of the Bard’s work was printed in a run of about 800 copies in 1623, seven years after his death. It contains 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, and is considered to be the only reliable text for half of his works, including “Macbeth.” First folios are among the world’s most sought-after volumes, and Shakespeare aficionados [...]