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Shakespeare’s Library

Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature

Stuart Kells

  • awardShortlisted, The University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award, 2019
  • 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 Mail (benath David Bowie article)
    Daily Review 
    Kirkus Reviews
    LaTrobe University News   
    Publishers Weekly 
    Washington Post 
    Wheeler Centre 

    Stuart Kells
    About the Author

    Author and historian Stuart Kells is adjunct professor at La Trobe Business School. He has twice won the prestigious Ashurst Business Literature Prize.

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    Text publication date:
    20 August 2018
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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’

    ‘With The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders and Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature, Stuart Kells has achieved a notable double. Both contain much to entertain anybody interested in books.’

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