Lena Cowen Orlin

This page reflects a scholar's association with the Folger Institute.

Executive Director, Folger Institute, 1982-1996

Georgetown University Consortium Executive Committee Member, 2009-present

Long-term fellowship

"The Private Life of William Shakespeare" (Mellon, 2011–2012)

For a biography of William Shakespeare, I propose to focus on civic and ecclesiastical records to build fresh contexts for understanding his marriage to Anne Hathaway, his life in London, his retirement to Stratford, and his last will. A projected first chapter will revisit the identity and age of Anne Hathaway. A second chapter will discuss the couple’s working lives in Stratford and London. A third chapter will emphasize that by living in lodgings in London but purchasing property in Stratford, Shakespeare demonstrated a life-long commitment to the town of his birth. A fourth chapter will give a revisionist reading of the “second-best bed.” Although the book will focus on new research, it will necessarily address some of the myths of Shakespeare’s biography. To understand the development of these myths, the collections of the Folger Shakespeare Library are unrivalled. A year at the Folger would enable me to consult such important materials as contemporary marriage settlements and property transfers in the Stratford area, the later seventeenth-century diaries of Stratford vicar John Ward, and the nineteenth-century scrapbooks of J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps. My aim would be to complete the manuscript by the end of the fellowship year.

Short-term fellowships

2009-2010 2004-2005

Scholarly Programs

Speaker, Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography (Conference, 2013–2014)

Organizer, Early Modern Cities in Comparative Perspective (Conference, 2012–2013)

Visiting Faculty, The Handwritten Worlds of Early Modern England, (Summer Institute, 1995)

Speaker, Mapping the Early Modern World, (Conference, 1998)

Organizer, Material London, ca. 1600, (Conference, 1995)

Curator, Elizabethan Households, (Exhibition, 1995)

Visiting faculty, The Theatre in History: The Social Function of Renaissance Dramatic Genres (Summer Institute, 1992)