Shakespeare’s 400


Saturday 23rd April will be not only World Book Night, but also the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, who died in Stratford-upon-Avon, the city of his birth, at the age of 52.

Shakespeare’s legacy is celebrated more so than ever this year, with events, festivals, exhibitions, performances and more. A recent piece on the Goldsmiths website explained how Goldsmiths is commemorating Shakespeare, including a performance of his great tragedy, King Lear, and several members of academic staff have published research that further analyses both Shakespeare’s work and life.

Then there’s the Shakespeare 400, a consortium of organisations, led by Kings College, London. They are responsible for a range of events both in London and beyond. Fancy a screening of Sir Laurence Olivier’s film version of Henry V or watching a midnight matinee of Much Ado About Nothing? How about a talk on the National Theatre’s Shakespeare productions? There’s something here for everyone with an interest in Shakespeare. Follow the hashtag to find out more.

The British Library is running its ‘Shakespeare in Ten Acts’ exhibition from mid-April until early-September, which looks at groundbreaking Shakespeare performances and features rare and unique items, such as handwritten play scripts and early printed editions. Discovering Literature: Shakespeare is a new resource allowing you to access a wealth of Shakespeare-related resources.


The library has an extensive collection of Shakespeare materials. His plays and poems are available at the following classmarks:

  • Complete works 822.33 A
  • Comedies 822.33 G
  • Histories 822.33 O
  • Tragedies 822.33 K
  • Poetical works 822.33 Q
  • (Poems Q1, Sonnets Q7)

For individual plays, use the 822.33 classmark, then use the following letter/number, e.g. G1

  • All’s Well That Ends Well G1
  • Anthony and Cleopatra K1
  • As You Like It G3
  • Comedy of Errors G5
  • Coriolanus K3
  • Cymbeline J5
  • Hamlet K7
  • Henry IV (pts 1 & 2) O1
  • Henry V O3
  • Henry VI (pts 1,2,& 3) O5
  • Henry VIII O7
  • Julius Caesar L1
  • King John P1
  • King Lear L3
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost G7
  • Macbeth L5
  • Measure for Measure H1
  • Merchant of Venice H3
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor H5
  • A Midsummer’s Night Dream H7
  • Much Ado About Nothing I1
  • Othello L7
  • Pericles J7
  • Richard II P3
  • Richard III P5
  • Romeo and Juliet M3
  • Taming of the Shrew I3
  • The Tempest I5
  • Timon of Athens M5
  • Titus Andronicus M7
  • Troilus and Cressida N1
  • Twelfth Night I7
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona J1
  • A Winter’s Tale J3

Furthermore, we have access to LION, which has Shakespeare audio plays, and web text versions of the plays are also available.

We also have specific Shakespeare journals. Just search for Shakespeare on the catalogue as a journals search. Titles include Shakespeare Quarterly and Shakespeare Studies

Our AV collections also have filmed versions of Shakespeare plays, from a 1936 version of ‘As You Like It’ to last year’s ‘Macbeth’, starring Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender. You can also watch films/television programmes and listen to radio programmes about Shakespeare on Box of Broadcasts.

If you want to learn more about Shakespeare and his work or just re-familiarise yourself, there are plenty of options both in the library and outside.


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