FOLGER Shakespeare Library The world's leading centerfor Shakespeare studies Each edition includes: · Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play · Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play · Scene-by-scene plot summaries · A key to famous lines and phrases · An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language · An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play · Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books Essay by Alexander Leggatt The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.
William Shakespeare was born on April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter, Susanna, and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood.
The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He had a successful career in London as a playwright and actor and was a shareholder in the acting company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He produced most of his plays between 1589 and 1613. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.