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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UCLA's Clark Library receives unique Shakespeare collection

William Shakespeare's characters could be described as "adulterous," "depraved," "scandalous" and "miraculous," but the Bard himself did not use those words until they appeared in a 1603 English translation of the works of French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. A first edition of the translation, which scholars have credited with introducing 750 new words into Shakespeare's vocabulary, is part of a unique collection that has been given to UCLA's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. "With a couple of exceptions, the collection only contains books that Shakespeare read or could have read," said Bruce Whiteman, the Clark Library's head librarian. "So now you can come to the Clark and learn much of what Shakespeare may have known. But I'm afraid you still won't be able to write like him. Most of us never get to that level." Valued at just under $2 million and consisting of 72 books published between 1479 and 1731, among them several printings of Shakespeare's works, the collection is the largest gift ever given to the rare book library, which was built in 1926 and is located in Los Angeles' historic West Adams District

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