Emory Libraries kick off Shakespeare at Emory celebration with Tiffany Stern lecture and Bard exhibits

Published 03-15-2016

University of Oxford professor Tiffany Stern will lecture on the "Secrets of the First Folio" on Tuesday, March 29, at Emory University. Photo: Mim Saxl/Oxford University.

Tiffany Stern, professor of English and early modern drama at the University of Oxford, will speak in the Jones Room at Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library on Tuesday, March 29, at 4 p.m. In her lecture, “Secrets of the First Folio,” Stern will discuss the creation of the First Folio and the impact of this publication on the enduring popularity of William Shakespeare. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The event kicks off Shakespeare at Emory, which celebrates Emory’s selection as a host site for the exhibit of “First Folio: The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” with plays, readings, exhibits and other activities. It is a national traveling exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books, from the Folger Shakespeare Library. One host site was selected in each state, with Emory chosen as the Georgia venue.

“Appropriately, Emory’s year of celebration begins with a thought-provoking scholarly reflection on the First Folio, to be followed by a rich array of theatrical performances and poetry readings, as well as exhibitions, conversations and pop-up events,” says Rosemary Magee, director of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. “All are invited to participate – in every way possible.”

The First Folio, which will be on view at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum from November 5 through December 11, is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death. This year also marks the 400th anniversary of his death.

This illustration of Hamlet and the ghost by Harold Copping, c. 1900, is one of several illustrated postcards on display in the "Dispatched in Post: The Bard on Cards" exhibit in Emory's Wooduff Library. Courtesy Harry Rusche collection.

Assembled by two of Shakespeare’s company actors after his death in 1616, the First Folio was the only source for 18 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, according to the Folger’s website. Without it, previously unpublished plays such as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night” and “As You Like It” might never have been found.

A preeminent Shakespeare scholar, Stern is a general editor of the Arden Shakespeare series and author of a number of award-winning books. She is also the Beaverbrook and Bouverie Tutorial Fellow in English at the University of Oxford.

“Stern is an engaging speaker,” says Sheila Cavanagh, Emory English professor and co-director of Emory’s First Folio visit and Year of Shakespeare 2016-2017. “Her inaugural lecture for Emory’s Year of Shakespeare promises to illuminate Shakespeare’s dramatic texts in an exciting and informative fashion.”

Emory Libraries is also hosting several related exhibits, the first two of which open this month. The exhibits are free and open to the public during library visitor hours.

  • Dispatched in Post: The Bard on Cards, March 16 – June 26, 2016. An exhibit highlighting some of Emory English professor Dr. Harry Rusche’s extensive collection of postcards that depict iconic Shakespearean characters and scenes. Late 19th- to early 20th-century postcards related to Hamlet and other more popular plays are the focus. Woodruff Library Level 2, in the alcove near the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE).
  • Plants are Set before Us: Shakespeare’s Natural Worlds, March 16 – June 26, 2016. Plants play a vital role in Shakespeare’s works, both as physical devices and as symbols. This exhibit cites references from a variety of scenes and includes specimens from the Emory University Herbarium. Woodruff Library Level 2, in the alcove near the library service desk.
Marjoram makes an appearance in several of Shakespeare's writings; pictured here is Origanum vulgare L., wild marjoram, from the Emory University Herbarium, part of the exhibit "Plants are Set before Us: Shakespeare's Natural Worlds" in the Woodruff Library. Photo credit: Paige Knight.
“These exhibits give us the opportunity to highlight Shakespeare’s works through different mediums,” says library exhibitions manager Kathy Dixson. “The postcard exhibit provides a look at how this popular communication device satisfied an interest in Shakespeare. The plants exhibit focuses on an aspect of his works that is not always considered, and it allows us to highlight the work of the Emory University Herbarium in preserving plant material for a variety of research.”

Stern’s lecture is sponsored by the Hightower Fund, the Rose Library, British Council, World Shakespeare Project, the Pierce Institute at Oxford College, Barnes & Noble bookstore at Emory, and the Emory departments of English, History, and Theater.

The Woodruff Library at Emory University is located at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta, 30322. Parking is available in the Fishburne deck. For more information in the coming months on the university’s Shakespeare at Emory news and events, check the Shakespeare at Emory website.

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