Google’s Got a Book Search Just for Shakespeare

The official Google blog recently announced a slant of Google Books that’s focused on Shakespeare. The front page of the site has the Bard’s works divided into several tabs, including comedy, tragedy, romance, and history. I picked one (Julius Caesar, the only Shakespeare play I know from a hole in the ground) and was taken to a standard Google Books page featuring a public-domain version of the play.

The bummer is that the site is apparently all about browsing, and I wanted to pick lines and then scan Google books and see where they turned up. I grabbed a line from JC that I like: “The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power;” and plugged that into Google’s full book search.

While I like JC by itself, I thought the results from this quote search were also interesting; it brought over 80 results from Google’s book searching, including a philosophy book from 1992, a Shakespearean dictionary from 1832 written by Thomas Dolby (!!), and The Gentleman’s Magazine, from 1907.

All these different perspectives with commentary about Brutus, about what quotes from JC were considered important, what they say and don’t say, add another layer to Shakespeare. Wouldn’t it be cool if Google set up this fakey Technorati-type interface, and did “backtracks” of Google books and which Shakespeare plays they quoted from? You could enter a quote, for example, Google could see what play it came from, then you’d get this search result with the main “Shakespeare blog” at the top of the page and then all the Google books that use that particular quote. Instant Shakeosphere.

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