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Celebrating Shakespeare

Celebrating Shakespeare

shakespearelexiconSHAKESPEARE LEXICON, Vols. 1 and 2
Alexander Schmidt
Still often used today, German schoolmaster and philologist Alexander Schmidt’s (1816-1887) Shakespeare Lexicon is the source for elucidating the sometimes cryptic language of Shakespeare and tracking down quotations. Volume 1 covers A through L, from “a: the first letter of the alphabet” to “Lysimachus,” a proper name. Every word from every play and poem is cataloged, referenced, and defined in this exhaustive two-volume work, the result of arduous research and stalwart dedication. Serious scholars and zealous fans will find the Lexicon the ultimate guide to reading and decoding the Bard.

 

shakespearessonnetsSHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS (Complete Illustrated)
William Shakespeare
The first-ever, fully illustrated collector’s edition of William Shakespeare’s celebrated sonnets. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in April 2016, this enhanced edition of Shakepeare’s Sonnets features gorgeous full-color artwork throughout that brings The Bard’s timeless words to life like never before.

 
womenofwillWOMEN OF WILL
Tina Packer
Women of Will is a fierce and funny exploration of Shakespeare’s understanding of the feminine. Tina Packer shows that Shakespeare started out writing women as shrews to be tamed or as sweet little things with no independence of thought. The women of the history plays are more interesting, beginning with Joan of Arc. Then, with the extraordinary Juliet, there is a dramatic shift. Suddenly Shakespeare’s women have depth, motivation, and understanding of life more than equal to that of the men. As Shakespeare ceases to write women as predictable caricatures and starts writing them from the inside, his women become as dimensional, spirited, spiritual, active, and sexual as any of his male characters. The author observes that, from Juliet on, Shakespeare’s characters demonstrate that when women and men are equal in status and passion, they can and do change the world.

 

shakespeareandthecountessSHAKESPEARE AND THE COUNTESS
Chris Laoutaris
In November 1596, a woman signed a document that would nearly destroy the career of William Shakespeare. Who was this woman who played such an instrumental, yet little known, role in Shakespeare’s life? Lady Elizabeth Russell, the self-styled Dowager Countess of Bedford, has been edited out of public memory, yet the chain of events she set in motion would make Shakespeare the legendary figure we all know today. Never far from controversy when she was alive, she sparked numerous riots and indulged in acts of breaking-and-entering, bribery, blackmail, kidnapping and armed combat. The daughter of King Edward VI s tutor, she blazed a trail across Elizabethan England as an intellectual and radical Protestant. And, in November 1596, she became the leader of a movement aimed at destroying William Shakespeare’s theatrical troupe. Providing new pieces to this puzzle, Chris Laoutaris’s rousing history reveals for the first time this startling battle against Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

 
yearoflearYEAR OF LEAR
James Shapiro
Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year “King Lear,” “Macbeth,” and “Antony and Cleopatra.” In the years leading up to 1606, Shakespeare’s great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again. It was a memorable, but grim, year in England. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom. It was against this background that Shakespeare finished “King Lear,” a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns. The Year of Lear sheds light on these three great tragedies by placing them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.

 

wilintheworldWILL IN THE WORLD
Stephen Greenblatt
A young man from a small provincial town moves to London in the late 1580s and, in a remarkably short time, becomes the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. How is an achievement of this magnitude to be explained? Stephen Greenblatt brings us down to earth to see, hear, and feel how an acutely sensitive and talented boy, surrounded by the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life, could have become the world s greatest playwright.

 

shakespearetheworldasstageSHAKESPEARE: THE WORLD AS STAGE
Bill Bryson
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else’s the beneficiary of Bryson’s genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

 

thescienceofshakespeareTHE SCIENCE OF SHAKESPEARE
Dan Falk
William Shakespeare lived at a remarkable time a period we now recognize as the first phase of the Scientific Revolution. New ideas were transforming Western thought, the medieval was giving way to the modern, and the work of a few key figures hinted at the brave new world to come: the methodical and rational Galileo, the skeptical Montaigne, and as Falk convincingly argues Shakespeare, who observed human nature just as intently as the astronomers who studied the night sky. In The Science of Shakespeare, we meet a colorful cast of Renaissance thinkers, including Thomas Digges, who published the first English account of the “new astronomy” and lived in the same neighborhood as Shakespeare; Thomas Harriot “England’s Galileo” who aimed a telescope at the night sky months ahead of his Italian counterpart; and Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, whose observatory-castle stood within sight of Elsinore, chosen by Shakespeare as the setting for “Hamlet” and whose family crest happened to include the names “Rosencrans” and “Guildensteren.” And then there’s Galileo himself. As Falk shows, his telescopic observations may have influenced one of Shakespeare’s final works. Dan Falk’s The Science of Shakespeare explores the connections between the famous playwright and the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution and how, together, they changed the world forever.

 

TthemillionaireandthebardHE MILLIONAIRE AND THE BARD
(out in paper in April)
Andrea Mays
The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession. When Shakespeare died in 1616, half of his plays died with him. No one believed that his writings would last or that future generations would celebrate him as the greatest author in the history of the English language. By the time of his death, his plays were rarely performed, eighteen of them had never been published and the rest existed only in bastardized forms that did not stay true to his original language. Seven years later, Shakespeare’s business partners and fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, gathered copies of the plays and manuscripts, edited and published thirty-six of them. This massive book, the First Folio, was intended as a memorial to their deceased friend. They could not have known that it would become one of the most important books ever published in the English language, nor that it would become a fetish object for collectors. The Millionaire and the Bard is a literary detective story, the tale of two mysterious men a brilliant author and his obsessive collector separated by space and time. It is a tale of two cities Elizabethan and Jacobean London and Gilded Age New York. It is a chronicle of two worlds of art and commerce that unfolded an ocean and three centuries apart. And it is the thrilling tale of the luminous book that saved the name of William Shakespeare to the last syllable of recorded time.