William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616

William Shakespeare, the widely-acclaimed and thoroughly-studied Elizabethan dramatist and poet, was important for the New England Transcendentalists because his plays were better known and more abundantly performed in antebellum America than those of any other dramatist.  The Transcendentalists generally gave high praise to Shakespeare, but at times Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and Henry David Thoreau expressed reservations about his art.  Jones Very is famous among the Transcendentalists for his remarkable study of Shakespeare from a religious point of view.  Amos Bronson Alcott included a bust of Shakespeare as one of the four busts he placed around the classroom at his Temple School in the 1830s.