New Tables of Titles!
Textual scholarship is one approach to Shakespeare — best for Shakespeare scholars. A simpler path, for Shakespeare enthusiasts, is viewing Shakespeare's works in tables. Three tables under the dropdown menu, Shakespeare's Works/Publications, provide interesting perspectives based on the dates his works were written and published, and events that occurred contemporaneously.

For example, the genre table reveals that within about one year, 1599, of the building of the Globe Theatre, Shakespeare enjoyed a burst of brilliant creativity, writing four great plays — As You Like It, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night and Hamlet. What accounts for that?* Or within a two-year period, 1602-1604, he wrote four plays that share variations on a common theme of the power and peril of possessive lustful desire — Troilus and Cressida, Othello, Measure for Measure, and All's Well That Ends Well. What was going on in his life, or the lives of those close to him? While we may never know, the intellectual pursuit is still interesting. View the tables here:
  • Publication Chronology
    All his works, the years he wrote them and the years they appeared in print, plus some notable works by a few contemporaries
  • Plays by Year & Genre
    A color-coded table of his plays and how they were distributed by genre (comedies, histories, tragedies & tragicomedies) across his career
  • Shakespeare's English Histories
    The English histories sortable by alphabetical order, date of writing, dates of historical order, as well as some categories
What Did Shakespeares Contemporaries Think?
Reading the comments of some of his contemporaries provides another path to appreciating Shakespeare. The young playwright and actor achieved early notoriety as an "upstart crow." His popularity then grew quickly in his lifetime. For some contemporary assessments, see Contemporary Reviews.

John McGinnis

* James Shapiro wrote a fascinating book on this subject, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare.