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Robin Williams presents this talk for Renesan.org. “Enter Hamlet, reading on a book” is a stage direction in Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet is a prince, and would of course be expected to be able to read, but what about Shakespeare’s audience? How literate were they? How literate was the general population in England? And most importantly, what does Shakespeare tell us about literacy in the plays themselves? The action and language in the plays provide a social discovery of his time. Whether or not Shakespeare’s world was literate has implications on theories of publishing, whether Shakespeare may have intended the plays to be read as well as performed, and for whom Shakespeare thought he was writing. What did Shakespeare expect of his world? It was much more literate than we generally believe it to be. $15 fee at the door payable to Renesan.org.