Gasparo Contarini, The commonwealth and government of Venice, 1599 - title page.

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Date:1599

Description:A handbook on Venice for Shakespeare's contemporaries.

In 1599 Sir Lewis Lewkenor translated from the Italian Gaspar Contarini’s Della Republica et Magistrati de Venetia. This was the first book in English exclusively to deal with the ancient city-state of Venice. Shakespeare may have read this book in manuscript to use it for the legal background to The Merchant of Venice, >, (4,1, lines 174-360) and he certainly used it for Othello’s defense against charges of witchcraft. 'She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d ... This is the only witchcraft I have us’d...' (1,3, line 168).


Full title: Gasparo Contarini, The commonwealth and government of Venice. Written by the Cardinal Gaspar Contareno and translated out of Italian into English by Lewes Lewkenor, With sundry other collections, annexed by the translator, With a short chronicle of the lives and raignes of the Venetian dukes. London, Imprinted by John Windet for Edmund Mattes, 1599.


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1570s
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page
Henri Estienne, A mervaylous discourse upon... Katherine de Medici…, 1575 - title page

Shakespeare may have owned this book. Shakespeare purchased New Place, the largest ...

1590s
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.
William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis, 1594, leaf F4v.

Shakespeare’s first published works. The long poem, Venus and Adonis, was ...

1610s
George Tuberville, The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting, 1611 -  A royal picnic, p.91.
George Tuberville, The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting, 1611 - A royal picnic, p.91.

A picnic for Shakespeare's royal patron. Among the many engravings of huntsmen ...

1630s
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page
William Shakespeare, Quartos, Love's Labour's Lost, 1631 - title page

A play for the Blackfriars Theatre: Shakespeare's Love’s Labour’s Lost. The ...

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Donor ref:SR 87.9 Venice [19,575] (32/10578)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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