Online resources for Shakespeare readers

There are bazillions of online sites for everything Shakespeare, but these are the ones we have found the most useful and that we use regularly. (OSS) is a terrific source for discovering, for instance, how many times a word is used in the canon or in a particular play, to find quotes using a certain word or phrase, all the speeches of a particular character, and more.

Of particular use is the Advanced Search where you can find, for instance, every time the words tears is used near the word blood throughout the entire canon.

The Concordance lists every word in every play so you can quickly see how many times Shakespeare used, for instance, the word man-monster.

OSS is not useful for finding line numbers because it numbers lines from the beginning of the play, not the beginning of individual acts, and includes each speech prefix (the name of the character speaking) as a line, plus any stage directions are also in the line count. (This is a form of TLN, or through-line number.)

Internet Shakespeare Editions from the University of Victoria provides the original First Folio text (the edition published in 1623 of 36 plays in a large, hardbound format, seven years after Shakespeare's death) of every play, plus the Quarto texts (the small paperbacks) for the eighteen plays that were printed during Shakespeare's lifetime. If you have an interest in seeing the original spellings, speech prefixes, comparisons, etc., this is a fabulous resource. It also includes supplemental materials and performance history.

If you want to read the texts digitally, the Folger Digital Texts offers all the plays, FREE, to read online or to download in a variety of formats.

Folger Shakespeare Library provides podcasts and recordings on a variety of topics, from the plays and poems to life in Elizabethan England, and much more. in Edinburgh, Scotland, has a focus on young people (“home schoolers, school children, and students"), but they don't mind sharing their resources with older folks like us. They have great cast lists for readers and plenty of information about each play.

Free online courses are available from Open Culture, such as a Survey of Shakespeare's Plays.

iTunes U, in your iTunes app, offers a variety of FREE lectures about Shakespearean stuff.

One of our favorite topics is rhetoric, the art of persuasion. There are plenty of books on the use of rhetoric in Shakespeare, but our favorite online resource is The Forest of Rhetoric, or Silva Rhetoricae, from Brigham Young University.