Incense burner

Incense Burner with Double-Headed Crocodile Effigy Lid. Greater Nicoya, Costa Rica. Period V-Period VI, 500-1350 AD. Ceramic. Ex coll. William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau. Photo by Michael McKelvey.

Although Shakespeare set The Tempest on a small island off the coast of Italy, many scholars argue that he drew inspiration for the setting, several narrative themes, and the figure of Caliban from the newly encountered Americas.

Desire and Consumption: The New World in the Age of Shakespeare explores this argument by pairing the Rose Library’s Fourth Folio with several engravings from Theodor de Bry’s Americae volumes, a series devoted to Columbus’s travels in the Americas, the customs of myriad American inhabitants, and the mistreatment of the native population by Catholic Spaniards.

This exhibition also includes several objects from the Carlos Museum’s vast Americas collection, and considers how Shakespeare’s texts may have shaped a specifically English version of colonial contact.