Shakespeare's Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature

Shakespeare's Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature

by Stuart Kells


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


A tantalizing true story of one of literature’s most enduring enigmas is at the heart of this “lively, even sprightly book” (Michael Dirda, The Washington Post)—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.

"An engaging and provocative contribution to the unending world of Shakespeariana . . . An enchanting work that bibliophiles will savor and Shakespeare fans adore." ―Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640091832
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 778,815
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

STUART KELLS is an author and historian. His history of Penguin Books, Penguin and the Lane Brothers, won the prestigious Ashurst Business Literature Prize. The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders was short-listed for the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award and the New South Wales Premier's General History Prize, and has been published around the world in multiple languages.

Table of Contents



Part 1

1. William the Conqueror

2. The Mystery

3. The Quarry

4. The Search Begins

5. The Master Investigator

6. The Bibliomaniac

7. The League of Radical Gentlemen

8. The Mystery Deepens

Part 2

9. The Musikbibliothek

10. Alias William Jones

11. Emperor and Grand Lama

12. The Conspiracy

13. The Bumpkin

14. The Inbetweener

Part 3

15. Bibliotheca Mitchelliana

16. Bibliotheca Jonsoniana

17. Closet Games

18. All Perfect Things

19. A Writer’s Library


Customer Reviews