Published to accompany an exhibit this spring at Yale’s Beinecke Library, Remembering Shakespeare (Yale University Press, 2012) is everything a good exhibition catalog should be: short, but thorough; well-designed, and pleasurable to read and to look at. If I can, I certainly hope I’ll be able to get to New Haven and view the show in person, but this excellent catalog will serve as a good stand-in should that prove impossible.
David Scott Kastan and Kathryn James have encapsulated the exhibit well, highlighting not just the major themes, but also the fact that this is an exhibit about Shakespeare at Yale, not just Shakespeare at the Beinecke. Items from the collections of the Elizabethan Club, the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, the Lewis Walpole Center, and the Yale Center for British Art are also on display, and their inclusion makes for a much richer, more satisfying experience.
The short chapters are well-written and crisp; there’s not a superfluous word, and as it should the text continues to return to the main theme, on the very different ways Shakespeare has been “remembered” over the centuries. The illustrations are reproduced very well, and the overall design is attractive. A great success; if the exhibit comes anywhere near the high quality of the catalog, I’m sure it’s just as much worth viewing as the book is worth reading.