Folger Shakespeare Library Editions

Looking for free access to Shakespeare’s plays? Check out Folger Digital Texts!

The Folger Shakespeare Library Editions, the most popular Shakespeare texts used in high school classrooms nationwide, are designed to make Shakespeare's plays and poems accessible to all readers. 

Each edition features:

  • Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
  • Scene-by-scene plot summaries
  • A key to famous lines and phrases
  • An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
  • An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
  • Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s extensive holdings of rare books

The Folger Shakespeare Library Editions are available in print and electronic formats, including Amazon Kindle. Visit Simon & Schuster’s website to purchase the Folger Shakespeare Library Editions in print and electronic formats, as well as access unique companion resources such as curriculum guides and videos. Kindle editions can be found on

About the editors

Dr. Barbara A. Mowat

Barbara A. Mowat is the Director of Research Emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, consulting editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and editor (with Paul Werstine) of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions of Shakespeare's works. Her major fields of research interest are Shakespeare’s dramatic romances, early modern printed dramatic texts, and Shakespeare’s reading practices. She holds an M.A. degree in English literature from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in English literature from Auburn University, and Doctorates of Humane Letters from Amherst College, St. Johns University, and Washington College. Before coming to the Folger, she was Hollifield Professor of English Literature at Auburn University and then Dean of the College at Washington College. She has served as president of the Shakespeare Association of America, president of the Southeast Renaissance Conference, chair of the MLA committee on the New Variorum Shakespeare, and a member of the advisory board of the International Shakespeare Conference (Stratford-upon-Avon).

Dr. Paul Werstine

Paul Werstine is professor of English at King’s University College at Western University, a member of the graduate faculty at the University, editor (with Barbara A. Mowat) of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions of Shakespeare's works, and general editor (with Richard Knowles of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Eric Rasmussen of the University of Nevada--Reno) of the New Variorum Shakespeare, published by the Modern Language Association, for which he is preparing the volume on Romeo and Juliet. He has written extensively about the transmission of early modern English dramatic texts in manuscript and into print, and about the history of editing Shakespeare, including Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and The Editing of Shakespeare (Cambridge, 2012). Dr. Werstine holds an M.A. degree in English literature from Western University and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of South Carolina.

Contact us

Email your comments and questions about the Folger Shakespeare Library Editions to To request an examination copy of the print editions, complete Simon & Schuster’s desk copy request form.