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On Shakespeare’s Beehive

Over the past six-and-a-half years, I have been preoccupied with a single book, a copy of the second edition of John Baret’s Alvearie or Quadruple Dictionarie, printed in London by Henry Denham in 1580. I genuinely believe it to be a dictionary that once belonged to, and was fully annotated by, William Shakespeare. Confessing to this belief makes the preoccupation understandable. Believing in such a book is, of course, one thing. Proving, or even making a compelling argument for the claim, is another. Long prior to … Read More

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A World Between Covers

Essay by Jed Perl, originally published in Strange & Wonderful: An Informal Visual History of Manuscript Books and Albums . What is a book? A book is a world between covers, a realm of fact or fiction or some combination of the two. A book is a distillation of experience, a record of our world turned into a world unto itself. Most books, at least most of the books that we have around us today, certainly most of the ones in the room where I am sitting as I write these words, were produced on a printing press. … Read More

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