by: Gwen Bloomsburg
Although the exact date upon which William Shakespeare was born in 1564 is uncertain, his baptism is recorded as 26 April, and customs of the time would make his birth a few days earlier a probable scenario. Certainly, his death on 23 April 1616 is well-recorded, and that means we are smack-dab in the singular week when the best-known of all English writers came into and departed this world.
Best-known does not always make for best-loved, and many students can recount painful memories of forced Shakespearean encounters. Perhaps that is because it is common for students of English as a second language to study his works, which can seem impenetrable even to native speakers of English. Indeed, many people who speak and read no English at all have heard of Shakespeare, and that brings us to an interesting point to ponder as we approach the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth: What relevance do Shakespeare’s works have today? I am interested to hear any and all responses.
Finally, whether for first acquaintance or further exploration of the writer’s life and work, visit the Folger Shakespeare Library site: http://www.folger.edu/index.cfm. The library, located in Washington, D.C., boasts the “world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials” (About Us).
About Us. Folger Shakespeare Library.
Washington, D.C., United States: Folger