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About the Folger Shakespeare

male student reading the Folger Shakespeare Edition of Romeo and Juliet in a classroom

The Folger Shakespeare brings you the complete works of one of world’s greatest playwrights and poets. Whether you’re a Shakespeare lover, student, teacher, or scholar, the Folger Shakespeare is a trusted resource for Shakespeare’s plays and poems and for information about his life and world. We offer the plays and poems in a variety of formats so that you can choose how you would like to engage with Shakespeare’s words.

What you’ll find on this website

Our website offers for free the expertly edited texts and essays about Shakespeare’s life and world from our best-selling editions (published by Simon & Schuster). Enjoyed by millions of people around the world, our digital versions of Shakespeare’s plays and poems have been encoded to make them easy to read, search, and index. See all the plays and poems

If you’re looking for our editors’ notes explaining Shakespeare’s words and phrases, they are available in our books (both print and eBook). To purchase a copy, go to any of the plays or poems and look for the “Buy” link near the top of the page, or visit our publisher’s website.

In addition to having Shakespeare’s works available to read online, we are pleased to offer free downloadable files of the Folger Shakespeare texts in six digital formats: PDF, DOC (for Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Apache Open Office, etc.), HTML, TXT (i.e., plain text), XML, and TEI Simple. These files are free to use for all noncommercial purposes. Review our copyright policy to find out more about how we share our files, including what counts as “noncommercial.” Download the plays and poems

At the core of the Folger Shakespeare site is a set of highly encoded digital versions of Shakespeare’s complete works. If you would like to explore these digital texts in novel ways, we invite you to learn how to use the experimental set of tools in the Folger Shakespeare Application Programming Interface (API). Visit our API

What you’ll find in our books

Our best-selling editions of Shakespeare’s plays and poems have been designed with all readers in mind. Published by Simon & Schuster, our editions are edited by top Shakespeare scholars in the field. These experts based our editions on the most complete printings from Shakespeare’s time. The approachable notes and layout have made our editions the most popular Shakespeare texts in high school classrooms across the country.

Each edition features:

  • Expertly edited text based on the best early printed version
  • Notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text
  • Scene-by-scene plot summaries
  • An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
  • Brief essays on Shakespeare’s life, theater, and published works
  • An essay by a leading Shakespeare expert providing a modern perspective
  • Illustrations from our library’s extensive collection of rare books

All titles are available in print and eBook wherever books are sold.

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What you’ll find in our audiobooks

Our theater brings Shakespeare’s plays to life in full-length, full-cast audio recordings. Published by Simon & Schuster Audio, these productions were performed by the professional actors of Folger Theatre, in consultation with the Folger Shakespeare Editors. Seven titles are currently available for purchase on a wide variety of audio platforms.