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Shakespeare in the archives at King's
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Shakespeare in the archives at King's

engraving combining several engraved and painted images of Shakespeare beneath three busts mounted on a plinthFrontispiece to The Works of William Shakspere, Charles Knight, editor The four hundredth anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in the year 2016 has now passed.  

While it may be unexpected, the Archives of King’s College London, an institution which has not yet seen 200 years, hold some notable materials relating to the study of Shakespeare.

From 1910 until 1913 King’s College acquired libraries of two important literary scholars, Frederick Furnivall (1825-1910) and Walter William Skeat (1835-1912).

The Skeat/Furnivall Library, now forms part of the King’s College London Library.  

Along with their books came papers now held in the King’s College London Archives including a selection from Furnivall’s papers relating to The New Shakspere Society which he founded.  These provide a good insight into the concerns of Victorian Shakespearian scholars, questions of chronology and authorship still current today.

The collections were acquired and the library founded when Israel Gollancz was Professor of English Language and Literature at King’s from 1903 until 1930.  A Shakespeare scholar himself, Gollancz led the commemorations for the Tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916.  

Since his tenure, King’s College London has continued to be an important location for the study of Shakespeare and now is home of the London Shakespeare Centre.

This is an online version of a physical exhibition largely taken from the papers of Frederick Furnivall relating to the New Shakspere Society and also discussing Sir Israel Gollancz and the study of Shakespeare at King's. This exhibition was originally displayed in the foyer of the King’s building as a contribution from the Archives to the events of Shakespeare 400.

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