100 books like The Afterlife of Ophelia

By Kaara L. Peterson (editor), Deanne Williams (editor),

Here are 100 books that The Afterlife of Ophelia fans have personally recommended if you like The Afterlife of Ophelia. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Exhibiting Englishness: John Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery and the Formation of a National Aesthetic

Sally Barnden Author Of Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance

From my list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I studied Shakespeare’s works as an undergraduate, I became intrigued by the questions of why and how we got to the point where Shakespeare’s name is recognised all over the world, his plays are quoted in everyday conversation, and his works are central to every English Literature course. I’ve pursued these questions in my academic research, where I look at the history of Shakespeare in performance, but also at how these performances are remembered in souvenirs, pictures, and objects. 

Sally's book list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts

Sally Barnden Why did Sally love this book?

This book offers an art historian’s take on an exhibition that created a recognisable genre of ‘Shakespeare painting’ and included many paintings which informed illustration and stage design for generations. Rosie Dias looks at the connection between Boydell’s Gallery and English nationalism, noting that the gallery launched at the time of the French Revolution and of George III’s first attack of mental illness. Dias gives sensitive and informative readings of individual paintings and addresses the exhibition itself as a social and cultural event with a long-lasting influence. 

By Rosie Dias,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exhibiting Englishness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the late 18th century, as a wave of English nationalism swept the country, the printseller John Boydell set out to create an ambitious exhibition space, one devoted to promoting and fostering a distinctly English style of history painting. With its very name, the Shakespeare Gallery signaled to Londoners that the artworks on display shared an undisputed quality and a national spirit. Exhibiting Englishness explores the responses of key artists of the period to Boydell's venture and sheds new light on the gallery's role in the larger context of British art.

Tracking the shift away from academic and Continental European…


Book cover of Hamlet and the Visual Arts, 1709-1900

Sally Barnden Author Of Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance

From my list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I studied Shakespeare’s works as an undergraduate, I became intrigued by the questions of why and how we got to the point where Shakespeare’s name is recognised all over the world, his plays are quoted in everyday conversation, and his works are central to every English Literature course. I’ve pursued these questions in my academic research, where I look at the history of Shakespeare in performance, but also at how these performances are remembered in souvenirs, pictures, and objects. 

Sally's book list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts

Sally Barnden Why did Sally love this book?

Alan R. Young’s close focus on an individual play over nearly two centuries shows how far images can shape our ideas of what a play is about. He looks at paintings, illustrations, prints, photographs, and comic burlesques, demonstrating the incredible variety of images which have been inspired by Hamlet. I find Young’s chronological approach incredibly helpful, since it shows how one image influences another, and how representations of a single scene can change over time in line with fashions in the art world. 

By Alan R. Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hamlet and the Visual Arts, 1709-1900 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines the manner in which Shakespeare's Hamlet was perceived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and represented in the available visual media. The more than 2,000 visual images of Hamlet that the author has identified both reflected the critical reception of the play and simultaneously influenced the history of the ever-changing constructed cultural phenomenon that we refer to as Shakespeare.


Book cover of Shakespeare, Performance and the Archive

Sally Barnden Author Of Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance

From my list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I studied Shakespeare’s works as an undergraduate, I became intrigued by the questions of why and how we got to the point where Shakespeare’s name is recognised all over the world, his plays are quoted in everyday conversation, and his works are central to every English Literature course. I’ve pursued these questions in my academic research, where I look at the history of Shakespeare in performance, but also at how these performances are remembered in souvenirs, pictures, and objects. 

Sally's book list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts

Sally Barnden Why did Sally love this book?

Barbara Hodgdon’s sensitive, thoughtful, and often funny writing about how we remember Shakespeare's performances was one of the main reasons I wanted to explore this topic; her essay "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Still" shaped my thinking about Shakespeare's photography. This book reflects on her lifetime of theatregoing and puts personal memories and souvenirs into conversation with other kinds of records – photographs, sketches, prompt books, and props. In the process she explores the relationship between rehearsal, performance, and archives. Her approach is consciously playful, acknowledging the role of the imagination in the workings of memory.

By Barbara Hodgdon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare, Performance and the Archive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shakespeare, Performance and the Archive is a ground-breaking and movingly written exploration of what remains when actors evacuate the space and time of performance. An analysis of 'leftovers', it moves between tracking the politics of what is consciously archived and the politics of visible and invisible theatrical labour to trace the persistence of performance.

In this fascinating volume, Hodgdon considers how documents, material objects, sketches, drawings and photographs explore scenarios of action and behaviour - and embodied practices. Rather than viewing these leftovers as indexical signs of a theatrical past, Hodgdon argues that the work they do is neither strictly…


Book cover of Shakespeare on Silent Film: An Excellent Dumb Discourse

Sally Barnden Author Of Still Shakespeare and the Photography of Performance

From my list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I studied Shakespeare’s works as an undergraduate, I became intrigued by the questions of why and how we got to the point where Shakespeare’s name is recognised all over the world, his plays are quoted in everyday conversation, and his works are central to every English Literature course. I’ve pursued these questions in my academic research, where I look at the history of Shakespeare in performance, but also at how these performances are remembered in souvenirs, pictures, and objects. 

Sally's book list on Shakespeare’s plays and the visual arts

Sally Barnden Why did Sally love this book?

Today, one of the most prominent visual media in which Shakespeare’s plays are recreated is cinema. Judith Buchanan’s work exposes the role of Shakespeare in building intellectual credibility for the early film industry and addresses the paradox of adapting plays celebrated for their language in a medium with no spoken words. She shows how early films were shaped by the visual conventions of the Victorian stage and by popular technologies such as the magic lantern. The book demonstrates some of the techniques used by silent films to remake familiar images and adapt Shakespeare’s long speeches to visual storytelling. 

By Judith Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare on Silent Film as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Several hundred films based on Shakespearean material were made in cinema's 'silent' era. What economic and cultural ambitions combined in order to make Shakespeare such attractive source material for the film industry? What were the characteristic approaches of particular production companies and of particular national film industries? How were silent Shakespeare films marketed, distributed, exhibited and received? Through a series of close readings, and drawing upon a wealth of primary research, this engaging account tells an evolving story that both illuminates silent Shakespeare films already known, and brings into critical circulation other films not yet commercially available and therefore little…


Book cover of We Regret to Inform You

Sara Fujimura Author Of Faking Reality

From my list on teens who are builders and makers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books for intelligent, adventurous, globally-minded teens who aren’t afraid to fall in love with someone different from themselves. I started as a journalist, so it is no surprise that my YA books contain a lot of facts to go along with the fiction. Whether you want to know about Japan (Tanabata Wish), the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 (Breathe), what it’s like to be an Olympic-caliber skater (Every Reason We Shouldn’t), or how unscripted television works (Faking Reality), I take readers on swoony journeys to unusual places. So, if you like books that educate as they entertain, I hope you’ll check this book list—plus my books—out.

Sara's book list on teens who are builders and makers

Sara Fujimura Why did Sara love this book?

This book is about the crushing disappointment that can derail overachievers when they don't reach their goals. What made this book unique, though, was the shenanigans Mischa and the “Ophelia Syndicate”—a group of tech-savvy girls flying under the school’s radar—get into as they solve a cyber-mystery at their elite prep school. I love watching girls own their “weirdness” and wielding it as their superpower. If you liked Never Have I Ever (Netflix), then you will enjoy this tale of an overachiever who learns some life-changing lessons and makes some new ride-or-die friends along the way.  

By Ariel Kaplan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Regret to Inform You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How far would you go to get into the right college?... Fans of Becky Albertalli will appreciate this sharp-witted, timely novel about an overachiever who stumbles into the middle of a college admissions scandal when she's rejected by every school she applied to.

Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she's rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly résumé-padding extracurriculars (read: Students…


Book cover of Miss Ophelia

Suzette Harrison Author Of My Name Is Ona Judge

From my list on portraying African-American historical heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a youthful spirit, but an old soul. Perhaps, that’s why I love African American history and gravitated to Black Studies as my undergraduate degree. My reverence for my ancestors sends me time and again to African-American historical fiction in an effort to connect with our past. Growing up, I was that kid who liked being around my elders and eavesdropping on grown-ups' conversations. Now, I listen to my ancestors as they guide my creativity. I’m an award-winning hybrid author writing contemporary and historical novels, and I value each. Still, it’s those historical characters and tales that snatch me by the hand and passionately urge me to do their bidding. 

Suzette's book list on portraying African-American historical heroines

Suzette Harrison Why did Suzette love this book?

Part coming-of-age story, part slice of adult drama and misbehavior, this book impressed itself on my memory with its deceptive sweetness and heart-wrenching likability. It touches on teenaged pregnancy while examining infidelity stemming from a faulty marriage between a likable man and a bitter woman. I loved its honest examination of problematic, complex relationships—husband to wife, and child to adult. It is beautifully drawn, complex, and definitely on my "Books I can Re-Read Endlessly” list.

By Mary Burnett Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miss Ophelia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part coming-of-age story and part slice of life, this is a literary novel about African-Americans in the rural South.

Set in rural Virginia during 1948, Miss Ophelia is a remarkable debut novel that explores the issues of abortion, illegitimacy, adultery, and skin color. Belly Anderson now in the autumn of her life, reminisces about the last summer of her childhood. A strong-willed and free-spirited eleven-year-old, she reluctantly leaves her home in rural Pharaoh and goes to Jamison to help her mean Aunt Rachel recover from surgery. Belly has two reasons for deciding to go to Jamison: She's left alone when…


Book cover of Highland Pursuits

Emily E K Murdoch Author Of A Governess of Great Talents

From my list on unexpected love stories in historical romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written almost one hundred historical romances, so when it comes to making a marriage in a book swoonworthy, I know the hard work that an author has to put in. Whether it’s enemies to lovers, instalove, grumpy/sunshine, whatever it is: I have a huge amount of respect for authors who spend the time crafting a love story that makes me absolutely desperate for the wedding. 

Emily's book list on unexpected love stories in historical romance

Emily E K Murdoch Why did Emily love this book?

I have never found a modern-day author who encapsulates the roaring 1920s in such a resplendent as Emmanuelle de Maupassant: the humour, the wit, the descriptions of the Highlands which Emmanuelle knows so well, and of course, the mystery of eccentric relatives who are not what they seem.

I love this trilogy, with more than one unusual marriage...

By Emmanuelle de Maupassant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Highland Pursuits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1928 and Bright Young Things are taking London by storm, but debutante Ophelia's life is all mapped out: marriage to a cod-faced aristocrat and a life of dull respectability.

Refusing to play along, Ophelia is banished to her ancestral home in the Highlands of Scotland.
There, she'll be so bored, she'll come to her senses... won't she?

Meeting her eccentric relatives, Ophelia isn't so sure, and there's utter mayhem as guests arrive for her grandmother's birthday celebrations.

Everyone is having a ball... until tragedy strikes on a moorland shoot.

... don't miss the other two volumes in this hilarious…


Book cover of Hamlet

Karl F. Zender Author Of Shakespeare and Faulkner: Selves and Others

From my list on the most wonderful American, British, and Irish writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a small farm in southern Ohio, I was the first generation of my family to attend both high school and college. Literature, reading it, talking about it, studying it, was my entry into a world of larger possibilities than my family’s somewhat straitened circumstances had allowed me. Faulkner attracted me because the rural enclave in which we lived, and my neighbors, resembled locales and characters in his fiction. Shakespeare attracted me for many reasons, most notably the beauty of his language and the ability of his plays to reveal new meanings as my life experiences changed.

Karl's book list on the most wonderful American, British, and Irish writers

Karl F. Zender Why did Karl love this book?

Hamlet is one of those literary characters, like Faust, who gains an iconic, extra-literary identity. Moody, hesitant, insolent, and wracked by guilt and doubt, Hamlet marked the eruption into Western literature of self-consciousness as a literary trope. 

Understanding that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are agents of Claudius, not his true friends, Hamlet mockingly says, “You would pluck out the heart of my mystery.”  Whether considered in psychological, social, religious, historical, or political terms, that “mystery” has for centuries intrigued readers and audiences. I invite you to share that intrigue, or to return to it.

By William Shakespeare,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Hamlet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Mona Lisa of literature' T. S. Eliot

In Shakespeare's verbally dazzling and eternally enigmatic exploration of conscience, madness and the nature of humanity, a young prince meets his father's ghost in the middle of the night, who accuses his own brother - now married to his widow - of murdering him. The prince devises a scheme to test the truth of the ghost's accusation, feigning wild insanity while plotting revenge. But his actions soon begin to wreak havoc on innocent and guilty alike.

Used and Recommended by the National Theatre

General Editor Stanley Wells
Edited by T. J. B.…


Book cover of Soul of the Age: A Biography of the Mind of William Shakespeare

Arlene Naylor Okerlund Author Of Elizabeth: England's Slandered Queen

From my list on biographies that tell the truth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fake news is not new. Biographies, in particular, are fraught with fallacies and fake stories. When fake news slanders individuals, reputations are ruined and lives destroyed. That’s what happened to Elizabeth Wydeville, Queen Consort to Edward IV, and mother of the two princes who disappeared during Richard III’s reign. When I discovered the slander that destroyed Queen Elizabeth’s reputation, I began a 5-year research project to set the record straight. Some fallacies are deliberate, originating in envy or power putsches. Others derive from historical laziness or incompetence. What I learned from my research has determined my choices of biographies, stories that tell previously unrevealed truths about individuals.

Arlene's book list on biographies that tell the truth

Arlene Naylor Okerlund Why did Arlene love this book?

Critics argue that William Shakespeare did not write the works attributed to him because he lacked the knowledge of classical myth and history basic to his plots and imagery. Jonathan Bates proves that the curriculum of the grammar school in Stratford-on-Avon provided an education sufficient to explain Shakespeare’s plays and poems. Bate reviews books in English and Latin that Shakespeare would have read and that created his rhetorical brilliance. 

I treasure Bate’s biography because my own background originated in a rural, agricultural setting outside the social and economic circles that usually produce academic types. Bates disproves the fallacy that only the privileged and elite can survive and thrive in life and careers.

By Jonathan Bate,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Soul of the Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

In this illuminating, innovative biography, Jonathan Bate, one of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, has found a fascinating new way to tell the story of the great dramatist. Using the Bard’s own immortal list of a man’s seven ages in As You Like It, Bate deduces the crucial events of Shakespeare’s life and connects them to his world and work as never before.

Here is the author as an infant, born into a world of plague and syphillis, diseases with which he became closely familiar; as a…


Book cover of Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management

Ken Wilcox Author Of Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures That Motivate People to Achieve Great Things

From my list on leadership showing the art of motivating people.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ken began his career as an Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of North Carolina. After ten years in academe, he went to the Harvard Business School, following which he embarked on a 36-year career banking. Ken worked at Shawmut Bank, Bank of New England, and from 1990 through 2019 at Silicon Valley Bank. Mr. Wilcox earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, as well as a PhD in German studies Ohio State University. He published Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures that Motivate People to Achieve Great Things and soon he'll be publishing a second book One Bed Two Dreams: When Western Companies Fail in China.

Ken's book list on leadership showing the art of motivating people

Ken Wilcox Why did Ken love this book?

People often ask themselves, why study literature. What’s the use?

This is the only book I have ever read that attempts to show how literature applies to leadership and management. The authors, one a professor of Shakespearian literature, and the other a management consultant, attempts to show how Shakespeare’s play contain practical lessons for leaders.

The chapter I liked most talks about how and why the CEO doesn’t always want their successor to succeed, and how they sometimes sabotage their successor’s success.

By John O. Whitney, Tina Packer, Steve Noble (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power Plays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What Can Shakespeare teach us about effective leadership? Everything, according to John Whitney, leading professor at Columbia Business School, and Tina Packer, founder, president and artistic director of the critically acclaimed theatre group Shakespeare & Company. Whether we are dealing with an indecisive Hamlet or a corporate Lear, this innovative approach to management helps us tap into the timeless wisdom and profitable genius of the Bard. The issues fuelling the intricate plots of Shakespeare's 400-year-old plays are the same common yet complex issues that business leaders contend with today. John Whitney and Tina Packer compare Shakespeare's plays with management techniques,…


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