The Folger Shakespeare Library is an ideal location for this institute. Its extensive holdings in texts and images from across these cultures will allow us to investigate such traces of early performance as birthing talismans, engravings of royal entries, guild or civic expense accounts, the repertoires of provincial acting troupes, liturgical books and music, pilgrimage maps, eyewitness accounts in letters and diplomatic dispatches, images of triumphal arches and other aspects of the built environment, travel accounts and early missionary pamphlets, and such printed dramatic texts as survive. No other research library in the country offers such ready access to the primary resources that allow a cross-cultural comparison of early rituals and ceremonies.
Set as it is in a rare book library, the institute is uniquely designed to mesh hands-on research and scholarly inquiry. Working with the professional staff of the Folger and a distinguished faculty, twenty college teachers and graduate students from across the country will have the chance to scrutinize key holdings from the full range of the Folger’s capacious collection. For example, a rich but often overlooked group of Folger holdings—continental festival and street scenes represented in woodcuts and engravings—will allow us to explore processions and royal triumphs in various European nations. Each of the five weeks of the institute will feature case studies designed to provide a point of entry to larger questions, contexts, and resources. Through such case studies, the institute will offer an intellectually challenging and energizing experience.
Selected Primary Sources at the Folger Shakespeare Library
Selected Secondary Sources at the Folger Shakespeare Library
Hamnet, the online catalogue for the Folger Shakespeare Library
Luna Database of images at the Folger Shakespeare Library