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Millions of words of scholarship have been expended on the world’s most famous author and his work. And yet a critical part of the puzzle, Shakespeare’s library, is a mystery. For four centuries people have searched for it: in mansions, palaces and libraries; in riverbeds, sheep pens and partridge coops; and in the corridors of the mind. Yet no trace of the bard’s manuscripts, books or letters has ever been found.
The search for Shakespeare’s library is much more than a treasure hunt. The library’s fate has profound implications for literature, for national and cultural identity, and for the global Shakespeare industry. It bears upon fundamental principles of art, identity, history, meaning and truth.
Unfolding the search like the mystery story that it is, acclaimed author Stuart Kells follows the trail of the hunters, taking us through different conceptions of the library and of the man himself. Entertaining and enlightening, Shakespeare’s Library is a captivating exploration of one of literature’s most enduring enigmas.
‘Kells’s reflections are wonderfully romantic, wryly funny…There’s no doubt we can all learn a lot from the magnificently obsessive and eloquent Kells.’
‘Kells is a magnificent guide to the abundant treasures he sets out.’
‘If you think you know what a library is, this marvellously idiosyncratic book will make you think again. After visiting hundreds of libraries around the world and in the realm of the imagination, bibliophile and rare-book collector Stuart Kells has compiled an enchanting compendium of well-told tales and musings both on the physical and metaphysical dimensions of these multi-storied places.’