The Cambridge World Shakespeare Encyclopedia capitalizes on the expansive reach of Shakespeare’s global reputation. In pursuit of that vision, the project is trans-historical, international and interdisciplinary, both in its design and its contributors.

Volume 1:“Shakespeare’s World”

Covers the historical William Shakespeare (THWS) and the world he inhabited as well as the collected works of William Shakespeare (CWWS).

Volume 2: “The World’s Shakespeare.”

Covers William Shakespeare as cultural icon (WSCI), plus all the things that have happened to THWS and CWWS in the past 385 years. The geographical and language focus spans the diverse cultures that encounter WSCI.

28 macro articles, 6-12 micro articles per macro article

Written by hundreds of international scholars contributing interdisciplinary expertise.

Plays and Poems

The New Cambridge Shakespeare presents critical editions in modern-spelling of Shakespeare’s individual plays, of his Sonnets, and of his narrative poems. The series has won a high reputation for its lively new emphases, which are consistently supported by the state-of-the art scholarship and judicious critical insight displayed by its distinguished international cast of editors.

The aim of the series is to provide lively instructive access to these rich and complex works without over-simplifying them. For this task editors are chosen to combine scholarship and critical intelligence with proven communicative skills as expert teachers; their brief is to write with clarity, and freedom from jargon, in all areas – even the technical questions of textual editing, instead of being as usual shrouded in obfuscation, are here introduced in plain terms so that their interest and importance can be seen by the non-expert.

The chief innovative feature of this series is attention to the plays as theatre-works, to their full theatrical language as it appeals to the visual and aural senses of spectators, in addition to its appeal to the imagination of readers. The Introductions give specific attention to stage history, with lively photographs and line-drawings; and awareness of performance values is an integral part of their approach.

Each page of play-text carries a commentary at its foot where significant features are noted, not only to aid comprehension but also to quicken awareness of staging and stage-action; and in the text itself stage directions are given scrupulous attention, providing a practically performable version of the text in Elizabethan stage conditions, and identifying the essentials for anyone wishing to turn the text into performance.


Digital images of illustrations, book pages, manuscripts, prints, photographs, from partner archives that choose to share their resources through CWSO.


Digital sound files and video files from partner archives that choose to share their resources through CWSO.