For the third year running, we’ve remembered to make a Christmas list of which Shakespeare plays have sold best in the bookshop. Normally the results are counterintuitive and point to strange undercurrents in contemporary Bardism, but this year they’re deathly boring. We were sorely tempted to make up some more interesting results, but since we know these league tables are followed closely by Shakespeare scholars at universities across the globe – as well as certain anti-Stratfordians, ‘skulking deep in some university / casting spells and hating the world’, as Peter Riley says in a different context, we have given them honestly, as they appear on our stock management system.
In joint fourth place: Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing
In third place: The Merchant of Venice
In second place: King Lear
And this year’s joint winners: Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.
This is the first time Romeo and Juliet has troubled the top table, and the first time Hamlet has taken the top spot. King Lear is unmoving in second place.