Happenings · Travels

Literary Travels: Folger Shakespeare Library -“Will & Jane” Exhibit

Everyone has a set of hobbies that they love to participate in, and each one brings some level of joy to the person’s life. On this blog, I mainly focus on my love for reading (and writing), but I’m hoping in the future to write about other loves in my life and linking them back to reading.

Travel is a must in my life, and not just big trips that require an airplane, but also small day trips around my state. Maryland alone brings a lot to the table, but I’m lucky enough to be close to D.C. as well.  

Last month I visited Folger Shakespeare Library (and theater!), and it was then I realized how little of the city I’ve actually seen. I was there with an Austen group (yes, my nerdiness knows no limits) to check out a traveling exhibit, ‘Will & Jane’.

The info inside is great, the cover… kinda terrifying

While the exhibit was small, there were a lot of interesting items. The exhibit focused on the celebrity status of both William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, not just today but throughout the past couple of centuries. During Austen’s life, Shakespeare and his work were experiencing a resurgence, and the exhibit focuses on the similarities between the cult status both experienced after death.

Adding Austen and Shakespeare to products to boost sales. My favorite is the Bath Gin with a winking Austen.
(Sorry, the pics inside the exhibit are from my phone. Not all winner.)
How we keep Austen and Shakespeare ‘up to date’ the past couple of decades.

After the exhibit, I realized that when I think about celebrity obsession I usually think of it as a current phenomenon, but I don’t think that’s the case. From the objects on display, I think the ‘celebrity cult’ mindset is an old one. At least, older than people think. The only difference is that the past couple of generations have had the resources and disposable income to really take their obsessions to a new level.

And with that, here’s my SWAG! Or ‘how Tasheena is apart of the machine because her Jane Austen love is sometimes unhealthy’:

Did I NEED Darcy and Elizabeth salt shakers? Yes, yes I did.



Perfect decor for the bookshelf. The diagram includes 12 different scenes




The exhibit also had an array of information about William and Jane, and their success. One information board I found interesting was about how Jane Austen’s work became regarded as ‘chick lit’ and ‘girly’ starting in the 1950’s, which wasn’t the case prior.


The surprising highlight for me was seeing one of my favorite covers of Pride and Prejudice, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. Someone needs to re-release this cover, because it’s stunning and I would buy it in a heartbeat.


And I can’t finish this article until I talk about the crowning jewel of the exhibit. The Shirt!


This is the shirt that Colin Firth (as Darcy) wore in the famous Lake Scene (BBC 1995):


Hahaha, I actually got a kick out of seeing it. What can I tell you, I’m just a silly Austen fan.

In The Margins:

  • I hope everyone enjoyed this article. I had fun writing it and hope to write more about my travels in the future.
  • I also purchased a Jane Austen ornament that matches a Phantom of the Opera ornament I have, so I have a valid excuse for that purchase: fog14
  • The exhibit runs to November 6th, so if you’re nearby or visiting DC in the near future go check it out. 

7 thoughts on “Literary Travels: Folger Shakespeare Library -“Will & Jane” Exhibit

  1. This is lovely. I didn’t know they had an exhibit. My aunt was just studying there for about 4 months on scholarship and I would come to visit her but wouldn’t go into the library. Maybe I can make a trip of it for my birthday in the next few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

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