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SHAKESPEARE’S SOURCES AND TEXTS AT THE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
This online exhibition is one of the outputs of an archival research project that looked into the copies of books which have inspired Shakespeare to write his plays and poems and which are held in the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester. The main aims of this project are thus to highlight the connections between Shakespeare’s work and the works of others and showcase some of the rare items held by Archives and Special Collections.
One of the main responsibilities of Archives and Special Collections is to gather and preserve rare manuscripts and books printed before the era of mechanised press (up to 1850). Among these collections, we find copies of works which Shakespeare must have read and/or known. Some of these items date back to Shakespeare’s own time or before. Others are copies printed in the centuries that followed, which also attests for their enduring importance and appeal.
This project would not have been possible without the support of the University Library management and the Special Collections' amazing staff. Our heartfelt thanks to the CITE's Director, Mr Phil Horspool, for his encouragement and support. We are also grateful for the help we received from the Head of Research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Rev. Dr Paul Edmondson, and the SBT Librarians, who kindly gave us access to their amazing collection of rare books.
The images in this exhibition come mostly from items in the University of Leicester Archives and Special Collections; unless otherwise stated. Images of other relevant items are courtesy of the British Library and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.