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The small impediment to getting Shakespeare here in the States is the somewhat unavoidable fact that he is dead. Dead as a proverbial doornail. That does not mean that pieces of him don’t go walkabout from time to time. Case in point: the national touring exhibition “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.” This folio is a book called “Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies” and was originally published in 1623. In it are 36 Shakespeare plays and it is generally considered to be the only reliable text for about twenty of his plays. Now this shockingly rare folio (which contains every Shakespeare play, with the exception of the two lost ones) is on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The curious may actually view the Folio on display at the Lake County Forest Preserve District’s Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda until the end of February.
Naturally, I thought a booklist was in order. Here then are some of the Library’s newest Shakespeare-related titles.
Since the First Folio is not too far away it seems now would be the perfect time to delve into its true-life story. In “The Millionaire and the Bard,” Andrea Mays tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of Henry Folger, the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession.
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned prequel? In “Beatrice and Benedick” by Marina Fiorata readers get the inside scoop on exactly what the lovers in “Much Ado About Nothing” were up to before the events of the play.
Very much along the same lines is Howard Jacobson’s: “Shylock Is My Name,” a reimagining of “The Merchant of Venice.” Mr. Jacobson set his tale in present-day suburban Manchester. Intrigued? Check it out.
“The Shakespeare Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained,” edited by Stanley Wells, is one of those books that appeals to hard-core Shakespeare fans as well as more tentative newcomers. Nothing wrong with that.
Ever wonder how Shakespeare went global? “Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe” by Andrew Dickson seeks to answer that very question. From 1600s English actors in Polah to 21st century Shanghai, Shakespeare goes from Globe to globe.
Lyric Opera Lecture: Romeo and Juliet, 2 p.m. Feb. 27, Small Meeting Room, Main Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.
The world’s most celebrated love story finds new dimension in Charles Gounod’s deeply romantic music. This is passion personified, from tender intimacy to ecstatic grandeur, including five iconic love duets and soaring music for the chorus and orchestra. Jean Joslyn of the Lyric Opera Lecture Corps presents a lecture with excerpts from this extraordinary work.