WASHINGTON, July 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Explore how the literary celebrity of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen has put contemporary readers on a first-name basis with these centuries-old writers.
Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity, curated by Janine Barchas (University of Texas at Austin) and Kristina Straub (Carnegie Mellon University), features more than 140 items related to Shakespeare and Austen. The story of both writers' continued popularity is especially apt this year: 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, and 2017 will be the 200th anniversary of Austen's.
Playful and often surprising, the exhibition brings together souvenirs, rare books, manuscripts, and other materials from the 1700s to the present—among them, a letter that Austen wrote to her sister, Cassandra; a large oil painting of the "infant Shakespeare" by George Romney; and Shakespeare and Austen modern-day action figures.
The materials include remarkably parallel items for each writer—aspects of literary tourism, stories of imagined love lives, household wares, toys, and more. Each writer is depicted in multiple formats, from portraits and busts to porcelain figures and bobbleheads. There are adaptations, parodies, mash-ups, and books taken to war, as well as the merchandizing of the writers' characters through celebrity actors.
- A copy of Austen's novel Emma owned by her sister, Cassandra
- A signboard, likely for a tavern, of Shakespeare from the late 1600s to early 1700s
- The shirt worn by Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy for the "lake swim" scene in the BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice
- A playbill for the Merchant of Venice that Austen attended and a letter she wrote critiquing the plays' acting
- A copy of As You Like It owned by author James Joyce
- Emma Thompson's annotated script for Sense and Sensibility (1995)
- Manuscript and typescript from Tom Stoppard for Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- Gravestone rubbings of the inscriptions on Shakespeare's and Austen's tombs
The exhibition also includes interactive touchscreens and media stations with film clips, many from movie adaptations of Austen's and Shakespeare's works. A number of stars, from Laurence Olivier to Kate Winslet, appear in films related to both authors.
Exhibition images available through the Folger press office, [email protected], (202) 675-0342.
More at www.folger.edu/willandjane and on social media via the hashtag #WillAndJane
ABOUT THE FOLGER
Folger Shakespeare Library is the world's largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world.
Located at 201 East Capitol Street, SE, the Folger is open to the public Monday through Thursday, 10am–5pm; Friday, 10am–8pm; Saturday, 10am–5pm; and Sunday noon–5pm, and during evening performances. (The Folger is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.) Admission is free.
Garland Scott, (202) 675–0342, [email protected]
SOURCE Folger Shakespeare Library