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Shakespeare’s Library

Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature

Stuart Kells

From acclaimed author and ardent bibliophile Stuart Kells comes an exploration of the quest to find the personal library of the world’s most famous author.

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.

Read Stuart Kells’ tantalising launch speech for Shakespeare’s Library 

Read an extract from Shakespeare’s library in the Weekend Australian ($)


3CR, Published or Not
3RRR, Uncommon Sense
 – 21 August 2018
3RRR, Uncommon Sense – 27 November 2018 (1:17:00) 
ABC News 
ABC Radio National, Late Night Live
ABC Radio National, The Stage Show
ABC Radio Melbourne, Evenings (02:05:00)
ABC Radio Sydney, Evenings (01:34:00)
The Conversation: Friday Essay
Daily Review
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly 
Washington Post 
Wheeler Centre 

Stuart Kells
About the Author

Stuart Kells is an author and book-trade historian. His 2015 book, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize. An authority on rare books, he has written and published on many aspects of print culture and the book world. Stuart lives in Melbourne with his family. He is writing a book about Shakespeare’s library.

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Text publication date:
20 August 2018
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shakespeare's library
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Praise for Stuart Kells
andShakespeare’s Library

‘Stuart Kells presents a fascinating and persuasive new paradigm that challenges our preconceptions about the Bard’s literary talent.’

‘A delight to read, a wonderful piece of erudition and dazzling detective work.’


‘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.’

‘A tale full of twists and turns, fascinating, colourful characters and elusive treasures.’

‘An excellent and incredibly fascinating read.’

‘Easy yet erudite, and often very funny.’


‘Unassuming brilliance.’

‘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.’

‘Kells is a magnificent guide to the abundant treasures he sets out.’

‘Effectively dealing with the Shakespeare-wasn’t-Shakespeare snobs and crackpots.’

‘An enchanting work that bibliophiles will savor and Shakespeare fans adore.’

‘A fascinating examination of a persistent literary mystery.’

‘The most marvellous book, it’s full of nooks and crannies and highways and byways.’

‘An engaging and intriguing series of stories told with relish, and pulled together with aplomb.’

Shakespeare’s Library is unquestionably a lively, even sprightly book’

Other editions ofShakespeare’s Library
  • Shakespeare’s Library
    ISBN: 9781925626759
    20 August 2018
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byStuart Kells