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Metamorphosis Othello Room 101

Karen Attar

Running from Tuesday, May 31, 2016 until Saturday, September 17, 2016


Join us in this exclusive opportunity to journey through the seven ages of Shakespeare, and track the evolution of his texts from the 17th century to the 21st. Curators of the exhibtion Shakespeare: Metamorphosis will discuss and display rare texts in the intimate setting of the original room 101. They will focus on the tale of Othello, examining Senate House Library's copy of the main source of inspiration for the play, Giraldi Cinthio’s Hecatommithi.


shakespeare metamorphosis


  • Othello Dicks' Standard Plays

    The family Shakspeare

    William Shakespeare; ed. by Thomas Bowdler

    London: Longmans, Green, [1867?]

    [S] YH 867


    “The subject is unfortunately little suited to family readiing”, wrote Thomas Bowdler of Othello, for his sanitisation of Shakespeare’s texts not to add to or amend Shakespeare’s words, but to remove “everything that can raise a blush on the cheek of modesty”. “The arguments which are used, and the facts which are adduced as proofs of adultery, are necessarily of such a nature as cannot be expressed in terms of perfect delicacy; yet neither the arguments, nor the facts, can be omitted …” This text from an 1860s edition of Othello shows how Bowdler set about his task.

  • Othello The Moor of Venice

    Othello, the Moor of Venice

    William Shakespeare

    London: J. Dicks, [1864]

    [M.M.C.] 1104


    This text of Othello was sold for a penny: a price enabled by printing in tiny print, just a millimetre high, in double columns on acidic paper, and saving space by listing the characters on the title page. Read Othello here to experience how somebody from the working classes might have come to it.