Johnson and Shakespeare: Exhibition at the Bodleian

This free exhibition opens on July 3rd 2015 and will run until 6th September 2015 in the Proscholium at the Bodleian Library, Old Schools Quad, Catte Street, Oxford — the Bodleian webpage for the exhibition can be found here.  The exhibition illustrates aspects of two enterprises of the 1760s that, though tinged with failure, had important consequences for the study and celebration of Shakespeare. Johnson’s edition of the plays (published 10 October 1765) had a muddled subscription and was subject to delays, but it established new standards for the historical interpretation of Shakespeare’s texts and introduced a variorum commentary, giving the notes of earlier editors as well as Johnson’s own.

The exhibition will illustrate Johnson’s proposals, a receipt for subscription, and the Bodleian’s unique copy of the Shakespeare in which Thomas Percy has kept some of Johnson’s cancelled criticism of William Warburton. David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee (6-8 September 1769), which began with a statue presented to Stratford-upon-Avon but developed into multiple festivities, was in many respects a wash out, but it began the celebration of Shakespeare that was to result in the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The exhibition will illustrate Garrick’s ‘An Ode upon Dedicating a Building, and erecting a Statue, to Shakespeare’, as well as songs and performances associated with the Jubilee.
Open Monday to Friday 9am–5pm Saturday 9am–4.30pm, Sunday 11am–5pm Admission free

For further details on the exhibition, and a detailed commentary on the contents, click here:


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