If I had one sacred book, it would be my precious Riverside Shakespeare. A gift from my parents for my senior year in high school (never having extra money, they saved for months to give me such a magnificent book), it has been a touchstone for me at many points in my life.
I studied Shakespeare in college and grew to love not just the Bard’s words, but the entire dynamic that was England and Europe at that time. I delved into the music of the period, founding a collegiate early music ensemble that continues to this day. I met my future husband when visiting a summer Shakespeare festival where he was working; he was later to woo me with quotes from Romeo and Juliet. Together we traveled to England to study in the places where “Will” had lived. We even considered naming our son William.
Throughout it all, “the Riverside” has held a place of honor in our house, with the weight of its content, the massiveness of its scholarship, the delicacy of its pages and the intimacy of the notes written in its margins and the papers (and even a few flower heads) pressed between its pages. Both my son and daughter used it as a resource for their own high school English classes – and so its influence lives on.