Charlotte ArteseShakespeare and the Folktale


Charis and Agnes Scott College celebrate Professor Charlotte Artese’s newest book, Shakespeare and the Folktale.    

Shakespeare knew a good story when he heard one, and he wasn’t afraid to borrow from what he heard or read especially traditional folktales. The Merchant of Venice, for example, draws from “A Pound of Flesh,” while King Lear begins in the same way as “Love Like Salt,” with a king asking his three daughters how much they love him, then banishing the youngest when her cryptic reply displeases him. This unique anthology presents more than forty versions of folktales related to eight Shakespeare plays: The Taming of the ShrewThe Comedy of ErrorsTitus AndronicusThe Merchant of VeniceAll’s Well That Ends WellKing LearCymbeline, and The Tempest. These fascinating and diverse tales come from Europe, the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, and South America, and include stories by Gerald of Wales, Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Giambattista Basile, J. M. Synge, Zora Neale Hurston, Italo Calvino, and many more. Organized by play, each chapter includes a brief introduction discussing the intriguing connections between the play and the gathered folktales. Shakespeare and the Folktale can be read for the pure pleasure these lively tales give as much as for the insight into Shakespeare’s plays they provide.

This is a Charis Circle From Margin to Center Literary Event. The suggested donation is $5.

About the Author

Charlotte Artese is professor of English at Agnes Scott College and the author of Shakespeare’s Folktale Sources.