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Shakespeare Connections


The Plays and Sonnets:
Bartleby's "Oxford Shakespeare" -- Free, searchable, every single Shakespeare work ever written, online!  The 1914 Oxford edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare ranks among the most authoritative published this century. The 37 plays, 154 sonnets and miscellaneous verse constitute the literary cornerstone of Western civilization. 
The MIT Shakespeare Homepage -- Welcome to the Web's first edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This site has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet community since 1993.  Either the Bartleby or MIT Shakespeare are fine, and it's good to have a backup source in case one of them crashes.
Sonnetbook -- a fascinating way of understanding Shakespeare's poetry as theater, rather than literature, and evaluating them according to that premise.  Click on "Sonnetbook," "Themes," or "Verse" and browse the sonnets by topic (time, love, beauty, sex, hate, etc.), learn how to break down and comprehend verse, take in its rhythms.  Perhaps most importantly, A Crash Course in Elizabethan Thinking -- how to understand the Elizabethan mind, and the world view of people living in that time. 
"Sonnets Summarized"  --  The English Sonnet is a poem form consisting of 14 lines, each with ten stressed and unstressed syllables known as iambic pentameter, with a set rhyme scheme of: a b a b c d c d e f e f g g.   The author(ess) of this website exhaustively summarizes ALL of them ... a Herculean accomplishment.  Very worthwhile.
Kenneth Branagh discusses Adapting Shakespeare for Film for The Smithsonian Associates (an audio file, requires readily available freeware RealPlayer to access).  He has created many well-known film versions of Shakespeare plays, a worthwhile resource on directing plays into film.   
Shakespeare's Life, the Globe, and the Elizabethan Era
Fabulous 3-D Tour of Shakespeare's Globe, requires Windows Media player (a movie file, nearly 2 MB and takes time to download but worth it). 
A Shakespeare Timeline -- A timeline of Shakespeare's life, including links to his genealogy, and a summary chart of his life events, historically significant events, and his plays as they appeared. 
Shakespeare's Globe -- Animated tours, requiring either Quicktime or Shockwave, but includes other links as well, and discussion of other theater companies of Shakespeare's time.  Shakespeare and his acting company, Lord Chamberlain's Men, built the Globe to house their theatrical productions, as one of the only two licensed to exist in London at that time.  This site includes illustrations and detailed explanation of the history of the Globe.
The Renaissance Connection!  Be a patron of the arts. Design your own innovation. Investigate Renaissance artworks in depth. Discover how past innovations inform life today. And more, all enhanced with quirky visuals, irreverent humor, and engaging interactivity that reveal the ways that Renaissance life and culture resemble our own.
Think you have what it takes to be an Elizabethan playwright?  Try your hand at PBS's Playwright Game, and find out if you build your way to fame and fortune, or wind up doing time in Her Royal Magesty's Tower.   
"Welcome to Renaissance in the Elizabethan World"  -- A beautifully designed collection of sites explaining food, occupations, games, pastimes, religion, fashion, manners, attitudes, and education in the time of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. A unique set of references for writers, students, actors, re-enactors, and Renaissance enthusiasts. Not just one link, but links to links.
Life in Elizabethan England -- A searchable, downloadable, PRINTABLE compendium of information about life in Elizabethan England.  It is not referenced as to specific information, but provides a detailed biblography, and is billed as "A Compendium of Common Knowledge" of the era.  Includes cultural information regarding love, marriage, rank, honor, religion, food, shopping, inheritance, education, just about everything you could hope for. 
"How to speak Elizabethan"  -- Learning to speak passably fair Elizabethan is easy. It simply requires some practice of the pronunciation, and some memorization of common vocabulary.  Includes clues on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, insults, and more -- altogether a fun site.  Here is a link from the same people to Elizabethan clothing
If you can't say something nice then you might find Shakespeare's Insults amusing (this site lists them play by play).  If you think you'd still like to insult people but are having trouble coming up with your own verbal attrocities, then you could try Ye Olde Shakespearean Insult Kit, and use the pull down menus to generate slightly more original material, you craven, clapper-clawed clot-pole.  Of course, if you prefer to see it all on one page, there's a simpler 3-column Create-Your-Own-Shakespeare-Insult-Page.
Renaissance Dance , and Renaissance and Medeival Music Homepage are two useful links that provide fascinating windows into the world of music and dance in that era.  Brought to us by the Society for Creative Anachronism, which creates many, if not most, Renaissance Faires throughout the country.  A quote from that page: "Dancing is practised to reveal whether lovers are in good health and sound of limb, after which they are permitted to kiss their mistresses in order that they may touch and savour one another, thus to ascertain if they are shapely or emit an unpleasant odour as of bad meat."  Thoinot Arbeau, Orchesography (1589)  In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Classical Music Archive  including a link-based Timeline of Links to Renaissance MIDI Downloads and other formats -- absolutely free, foolproof, and trouble-free.  Free users may download five pieces per day, and for a nominal free (as of this moment $25/year) you may download virtually unlimited works.  Highly searchable, by composer or era, includes biographical information.  A great resource!
General Resources on Shakespeare
When looking for study guides and resources on the internet, be very, very careful, since anyone can publish anything online!
Listen to Shakespeare's Works (among others) -- an audiovisual feature supplied by encyclopaedia Britannica, provided you have the right software on your computer.  Listen to great performers reading selections from As You Like It, Hamlet, Henry V, Henry VI, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and more. 
"William Shakespeare Homepage" --  This phenomenal and RELIABLE site, produced by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-on-Avon, includes links to synopses of every single play, information about his life, study guides, discussion of what he looked like, and other terrific resources. 
Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet"  -- A worthwhile and substantial source of scholarly and entertaining sources of information about Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and theater, but many broken links.  The site also includes links to the plays, but I prefer that you use either your textbook, or the Bartleby Oxford link, above.
The Folger Library -- The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, but not a lot of information for students here. A magnet for scholars from around the globe, the Folger is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, as well as magnificent collections of other rare Renaissance books and manuscripts on all disciplines—history and politics, theology and exploration, law and the arts.
"eNotes on Shakespeare"  -- Thousands of pages of content on the life and works of the Bard, including essays on specific plays, in case you're thinking of "researching," and "cutting and pasting" any of them.  Low quality information.  Keep in mind, however, that your teachers ALSO read these essays, which are written at a level or two BELOW your writing capability.  Despite the risk of actually showing you where the hidden cheater's essays ARE ... there's some useful information here, and I thought you should see where it is.  But don't YOU test ME!
"Poor Yorick"  The ultimate Shakespeare catalog.  Just to show you how universal is the reach of The Bard ... want a Twelfth Night on Video in Russian? Your own Shakespeare Action Figure? Or even to know why a business would be called Poor Yorick in the first place? A good site to peruse, for students and teachers as well.
Academic Information that Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else
Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry? -- Believe it or not, this is a source of serious argument for a great many extremely concerned individuals.  Some people (like me) think it makes no difference, but there's no point keeping you in the dark that the issue exists, and a few worthwhile sites introduce you to the discussion.    
Shakespeare's Monologues -- monologues from each of the plays categorized alphabetically by comedy, history and tragedy.  Each entry includes the character's name, the first line of the speech, is marked as verse or prose and gives the ocation within the play where the monologue is found. In case you're looking for a dramatic speech ...
"Shakespeare in Rewrite" from "The New Yorker", 2002, on how Shakespeare's work has been revised over generations, creating subtle and powerful changes to the meanings of his work.
"Shakespeare in the Bush" from "Natural History", 1966, a professor of anthropology carries the story of Hamlet to the African bush and is told its true meaning by village elders who provide assurance that "people are the same everywhere."


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