Indiana University Bloomington


New Shakesperian Puzzle
The New Shakesperian Puzzle. New York: Robert Gair, 1880.

The New Shakesperian Puzzle, touted as a 'Startling Novelty!' is as a game of innocent deceit. The cover of the box states that "this interesting and exciting Puzzle causes endless amusement for old and young, and enables a person to tell the thoughts of half a dozen or more of his friends. It defies detection, yet when known is so simple that any child can accomplish it."

The game consists of 10 thick paperboard cards, with Shakespearian verses printed in red on one side, and the various plays and verses printed on the reverse side, in black. A player would read a verse from the red side and their opponent would have to guess the play in which it was written, the answer to which was printed in black.

Featured here are the two sides from one card in the game, enlarged for viewers' benefit. The verse "Put money in thy purse" would be read, and the opponents, well–versed as they were in Shakespearian literature, would instantly know that the phrase comes from Othello, act i, scene 3!

New Shakesperian Puzzle - cards1
New Shakesperian Puzzle - cards2


1st Folio Title Page
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623.

The title page for Shakespeare's First Folio.

More than half of Shakespeare's plays were printed for the first time in this posthumous publication of his works.

Lamb - Tales from Shakespeare
Charles Lamb. Tales from Shakespeare: Designed for the Use of Young Persons. London: Printed for Thomas Hodgkins, 1807.

Charles Lamb and his sister Mary were important figures in early 19th century children's publishing. Tales from Shakespeare was an immense success in 1807, written in a format which was easier for children's reading comprehension.

The engravings for the book were done by William Blake, based on designs by William Mulready.

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