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2023-2024: A Campuswide Exhibit

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio of William Shakespeare’s plays (1623). At the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, the Shakespeare Unbound exhibit asks: what happens when Shakespeare appears in fragments or as momentary flashes in history? With selections from the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center, the works of W. E. B. Du Bois, Phillis Wheatley, and others are joined in conversation with William Shakespeare. This exhibit explores stories of Shakespeare unbound and rebound, scattered and gathered together into new assemblages across place and time. 

Shakespeare Unbound is made possible through a private collection of rare books generously on loan to the University in honor of the collector’s life-long friendship with former UMass Amherst Professor Pieter Elgers. This extraordinary collection contains extracts from the First Folio, copies of three other early folio editions of the plays (1632, 1663, 1685), Shakespeare’s Poems (1640), and a diverse array of materials that trace the history of Shakespeare’s plays—on page, stage, and film—from the Restoration through to the Twentieth Century.