Shakespeare, 450 years after his birth, ranks as one of the most frequently studied writers and dramatists in the English language. His works continue to fascinate audiences and readers. They have profoundly influenced world literature, and have been the subject of scholarly research ever since the seventeenth century. This series includes editions of the texts themselves, anthologies, and works by Shakespeare's contemporaries. It ranges from early literary criticism to imaginative forays into the lives of Shakespeare's characters (nineteenth-century precursors of fan fiction?), and also covers the historical context of Shakespeare's life and writings, and the actors who achieved fame in performing his plays.