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Shakespeare & Beyond

A mulberry tree and other Shakespeare bindings

Shakespeare mulberry tree binding.
Shakespeare mulberry tree binding.
By Esther Ferington

Among the curious items in the Will & Jane exhibition is a 19th-century edition of Shakespeare’s works in an unusual binding.

A small frame in the binding’s front cover encloses a piece of wood, described in an inscription as “Part of the Mulberry Tree Planted by Wm. Shakespeare.” Needless to say, no single tree could supply the wood for all of the items that are said to be made from Shakespeare’s mulberry tree. Yet the binding is an intriguing example of the posthumous celebrity that is examined by Will & Jane, known in Shakespeare’s case as bardolatry.