In the eighteenth century, Shakespeare became indisputably the most popular English dramatist. Published editions, dramatic performances and all kinds of adaptations of his works proliferated and his influence on authors and genres was extensive. By the second half of the century Shakespeare's status had been fully established, and since that time he has remained central to English culture. Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century explores the impact he had on various aspects of culture and society: not only in literature and the theatre, but also in visual arts, music and even national identity. The eighteenth century's Shakespeare, however, was not our Shakespeare. In recovering the particular ways in which his works were read and used during this crucial period in his reception, this book, with its many illustrations and annotated bibliography, is the clearest way into understanding this key phase in the reception of the playwright.