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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: November ::
Tip-top Shakes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2020  Monday, 29 November 2004

From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Nov 2004 02:12:00 -0800
Subject:        Tip-top Shakes

OCLC, the worldwide library cooperative, has a list of the thousand most
common books in libraries ("the intellectual works that have been judged
to be worth owning by the 'purchase vote' of libraries around the
globe"), and in this horse race, it's Hamlet by a mile over the rest of
Shakespeare not to mention any other dramatic work.  The list in full is
at http://www.oclc.org/research/top1000/

First, the top 10:  Census (various), Bible, Mother Goose, Divine
Comedy, Odyssey, Iliad, Huckleberry Finn, Hamlet, Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland, and Lord of the Rings.

For just about all of Shakespeare, here are the numbers involved, in
library holdings, in rank order among the 1,000 (statisticians, start
your engines):

7. Hamlet                    37,683
19. Macbeth               28,718
24. Romeo & Juliet    26,944
26. King Lear              26,211
34. Julius Caesar        23,931
37. Merchant of Venice    23,034
38. Midsummer Night's Dream    23,020
40. Othello                    22,444
50. Tempest                 20,483
51. Sonnets                  20,348
59. As You Like It       19,032
60. Twelfth Night        19,020
95. Antony & Cleopatra    15,356
99. Taming of the Shrew    14,875
100. Much Ado about Nothing    14,849
102. Henry V                14,842
103. Richard II              14,841
104. Richard III            14,813
105. 1&2 Henry IV       14,809
152. Winter's Tale        12,233
165. Measure for Measure    11,773
186. Coriolanus            11,213
204. Love's Labour's Lost    10,551
206. Comedy of Errors    10,543
211. King John              10,391
217. Merry Wives of Windsor    10,238
224. All's Well that Ends Well    10,060
248. Troilus & Cressida    9,525
251. Titus Andronicus    9,477
(264. Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare    9,300)
289. Cymbeline                8,810
307. Henry VIII                8,581
335. Two Gentlemen of Verona    8,244
402. Pericles                    7,555
414. Hamlet (film)            7,462
421. Timon of Athens    7,411
567. Macbeth (film)        6,432
847. King Lear (film)       5,443
942. Midsummer Night's Dream (film)    5,191
975. 3 Henry VI                5,120

I count 35 of the canon here.  2 Henry VI appears, finally, in a list of
runners-up (at #1110, with 4,829) but neither 1 Henry VI nor Two Noble
Kinsmen made it out of the starting gate.  I assume the complete works
would have run well if collections had counted.

BTW the non-Shakespeare dramas/operas in the top half of this list, in
order, are:

32. Faust (Goethe)
66. Carmen
87. Don Giovanni
107. Magic Flute
109. La Boheme
130. Cyrano de Bergerac
132. Marriage of Figaro
140. La Traviata
144. Aida
170. Rigoletto
173. Peter Pan
176. Tosca
180. Madame Butterfly
192. Oedipus Rex
215. Barber of Seville
218. Tristan & Isolde
241. Il Trovatore
247. Cosi Fan Tutte
258. Oresteia
265. Lucia di Lammermoor
278. Death of a Salesman
293. West Side Story
303. Otello (Verdi)
315. Meistersinger
324. Porgy & Bess
361. Cavalleria Rusticana
382. Faust (Gounod)
386. Antigone
403. Raisin in the Sun
409. My Fair Lady
465. Parsifal
478. Dido & Aeneas
480. Lohengrin
482. Waiting for Godot
486. Ring of the Niebelung
490. Sound of Music

Verdi's Falstaff comes in at 526.  The only one of Shakespeare's
contemporaries in the top 1,000 is Marlowe's Doctor Faustus at 694.

As this was the Thanksgiving holiday and we are overstuffed, how about
the British Council's list of 100 most beautiful English words?

http://www.britishcouncil.org/korea-news-and-events-press-release-70-most-beautiful-words.htm

Hilarious (#33) or Flabbergasted (#51),
Al Magary

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