For the first time in nearly two and a half millennia the countries of western Europe are no longer at war. This is largely thanks to the work of the founders and builders of the European Union. Yet, paradoxically, Europe is also currently in a state of crisis as its peoples feel arguably misrepresented, or unheard by the Union’s governing bodies. Democracy and peace are always at threat when freedom of speech and freedom of the arts are taken for granted, or even jeopardized. This seminar will explore the censorship of one of Europe’s greatest authors: William Shakespeare. Students will have the opportunity to look directly over the shoulders of a series of early censors of Shakespearean texts and will be encouraged to explore more broadly the workings of censorship, whether managed by the state, institutions, communities, or individuals themselves. As this seminar hopes to demonstrate, what Shakespeare’s censored and maimed texts tell us, may inform our modern notions of artistic and political freedom of expression.