Review: Bartlett’s Shakespeare Quotations

From the publisher: “From the quote afficionado to the historical researcher, fans of Bartlett’s will be thrilled to see this edition of quotations from the great William Shakespeare. Collecting quotes from his many works into one beautiful volume, Bartlett’s Shakespeare Quotations is essential as a reference tool and makes for some wonderful browsing. Quotes culled from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotationsare organised by play or sonnet in chronological order and capture a unique view of Shakespeare’s life and work. From King Henry VI to The Tempest (and even the epitaph on his grave) this volume will delight both researchers and casual readers as it highlights one of the most beguiling and beloved playwrights in history.” –

Why am I recommending this book? Simple, for the casual reader it is invaluable. Notice I said “casual reader.” As an author living in the modern world I constantly have to think of what readers want and one of those wants is less reading. Reading has become very commoditized in America and to make matters worse, media and the published word, has become abbreviated, while imagery simultaneously has become more captivating and attractive. Enter Bartlett’s Shakespeare Quotations.

John Bartlett owned a bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts which served the Harvard community. In 1855 he financed, published and printed the very first of his Familiar Quotations. It so happens that one-third of the quotations came from the King James Bible and one-third came from Shakespeare.

In 1863 Bartlett joined Little, Brown and Company and enjoyed a prosperous and productive career as a publisher.

Shakespeare’s Quotations at Little, Brown & Co.

Shakespeare’s Quotations & Familiar Quotations both have been continually published with new editions since his death. Shakespeare’s Quotations is in my top ten list for its brevity and useful nature, not to mention the novelty of having a cheat sheet to Shakespeare‘s finest ratings.

– Chad Hagan, September 27, 2020