ATG Book of the Week: Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature

by | Apr 6, 2019 | 0 comments

Title: Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature
Author: Stuart Kells
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1640091832, $26
Imprint: Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2019

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

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. Knowing what the Bard read informs our reading of his work, and it offers insight into the mythos of Shakespeare and the debate around authorship. The library’s fate has profound implications for literature, for national and cultural identity, and for the global Shakespeare industry. It bears on 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.




“Riveting . . . To read, or not to read? Here, there’s no question!” ―Booklist (starred review)


“Historian Kells (The Library) delivers a fascinating examination of a persistent literary mystery . . . Shakespeare fans will surely be riveted by the new information brought to light in Kells’s rich literary survey.” ―Publishers Weekly


“It’s an engaging and provocative contribution to the unending world of Shakespeariana . . . An enchanting work that bibliophiles will savor and Shakespeare fans adore.” ―Kirkus Reviews


“Sharp and enjoyable.” Fine Books & Collections


“An excellent reevaluation of Shakespeare. Well worth reading.” ―William Sutton,


“An entertaining and informative read that every Shakespeare scholar should make sure to have in their own library.” ―Ripe Good Scholar


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