About Lloyd Davis Public Lecture 2022

Shakespeare's Book? The hunt for his personal library. 

Join renowned Australian scholar Professor Rosalind Smith for this thought provoking lecture entitled “Shakespeare’s Book: Marginalia in the Emmerson Collection in the State Library of Victoria.” 

In her talk Rosalind will discuss a serendipitous find in the Emmerson collection of the State Library of Victoria: an unknown instance of the signature ‘William Shakespeare’ on the title page of one of its 5000 rare books. In a field littered with forgeries and false claims, how can such a signature be read? Is it possible that more evidence of Shakespeare’s library exists than previously thought, in private collections, or in collections that have only recently entered public hands, such as the John Emmerson bequest to the State Library of Victoria? This paper examines the signature and marginalia in the volume to assess whether this might be Shakespeare’s book, weighted against a long and intriguing history of ‘discovery,’ false claims, and forgery in the search for Shakespeare’s library. It considers the role that recent critical interest in marginalia plays in understanding cultures of book ownership, reading, imitation, and exchange, such as the discovery of John Milton’s annotations in Shakespeare’s First Folio in the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the part that Australian collections might contribute to these new material histories.


Professor Rosalind Smith is Chair of English at the Australian National University, and director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies. A current ARC future fellow, she has published widely on gender, form, and politics in early modern women’s writing, and is lead CI on the ARC Linkage grant ‘Transforming the early modern archive: The Emmerson Collection at the State Library of Victoria.’

About the Lloyd Davis Memorial Fellowship

To honour and commemorate the life of Associate Professor Lloyd Davis, the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland, has established the Lloyd Davis Memorial Fellowship.  The Visiting Professorship is now a catalyst for dialogue for leading Shakespeare Scholars. 

In announcing the Visiting Professorship in 2005, then UQ Vice Chancellor Professor Hay, AC, said the following:

“UQ is committed to the long-term expansion of Shakespeare studies, to build on our international reputation for excellence and the momentum of next year's events. The Lloyd Davis Memorial Visiting Professorship will bring one major world scholar to UQ each year, beginning in 2006, to teach and share their scholarship with our own Shakespeareans.”

Event Details

Event Date: Wednesday 7 September 2022

Event Time: 5.45pm for a 6pm start 

Event Location: May Hancock Auditorium, The Women's College, College Road, The University of Queensland St Lucia Campus. 

RSVP: Friday 2 September 2022


Campus Accessibility

The UQ St Lucia campus is accessible via various forms of personal and public transport. In line with our efforts to promote environmental sustainability, here are a few eco-friendly ways to travel to the event:

​Health and safety information

Stay at home if unwell or have a cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath

If you become unwell during the event please let an event organiser know.

Maintaining physical distancing requirements is the individuals responsibility

Please do not attend the event if:

  • You have been in close contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19
  • You are positive for COVID-19

The School is proud to be running a UQ Unwrapped Sustainable Event.