The Global Popularity of William Shakespeare in 303 Wikipedias


  • Jacob Blakesley



There are no reliable figures on contemporary Shakespeare reception around the world. However, we can provide such figures by analysing which of the 303 global Wikipedias (in about as many languages) have Shakespeare entries and how often these entries have been viewed. These statistics enable us to concretely identify which works are the most viewed in different contexts around the world. We will see, for instance, which cultures are more interested in Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, histories, and poetry. We will find out which single plays are preferred in different cultures, and which plays, instead, are practically ignored abroad. In short, we can distinguish different levels of popularity of his works in different settings. Thus, we will discover that for a plurality of Wikipedias, almost fifty, Romeo and Juliet is number one in pageviews, while in many, but fewer others, it is Hamlet. In seven Wikipedias, on the other hand, Macbeth is number one, while Julius Caesar is first in still several others. Othello, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and Antony and Cleopatra are the only other rare leaders in specific Wikipedias. In short, this article will present the basic popular global reception information about all of Shakespeare’s works, filling a lacuna in critical research; this will allow researchers to pursue more detailed levels of investigation of Shakespeare’s canonicity in different contexts across the globe. 

Keywords: World literature, Canon, Shakespeare reception, Wikipedia, Sociology of literature, Digital humanities 




How to Cite

Blakesley, J. (2020). The Global Popularity of William Shakespeare in 303 Wikipedias. Memoria Di Shakespeare. A Journal of Shakespearean Studies, (5).