Fact #1: Google lists 83 million pages when you search for the name "William Shakespeare." Of course, this figure is not totally accurate, but it does present a statistical curiosity of Shakespeare's popularity around the world. This surpasses the returns on searches for literary heavyweights like Ernest Hemingway (11 million) and H.P. Lovecraft (3 million), and even contemporary darlings of the writing world like Stephenie Meyer (4 million) and JK Rowling (6 million).
Fact #2: Shakespeare's date of birth is a matter of dispute, as was the case of many people at the time. Historians apply two dates: April 23, the day that he died in 1616, and April 26, the day of his baptism. Using his date of death as his birth date in 1564 is one of pure convenience on behalf of the Shakespeare estate, finding it much easier to use a single date for celebrating his life than they have on record.
Fact #3: The epitaph on Shakespeare's headstone reads as follows:
Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,
To digg þe dust encloased heare.
Blese be þe man þat spares þes stones,
And curst be he þat moves my bones.
The robbing of graves was a well-established criminal enterprise in the 17th century, and the warning of this curse was put in place so his body might not be disturbed. This did not, however, stop the exhumation of his body in 2011 in an attempt by researchers to determine his true cause of death.
Shakespeare coined hundreds of slang words and phrases during his career, a handful of which we still use to this day. Most, however, are outdated because of bias and ambiguity. (Image: Brian Scott)
The above image is a manuscript written by Shakespeare. I have enlarged a portion of the document to showcase his "ink to paper" writing style. (Image: Brian Scott)
The above image is an illustrative rendering of The Globe theater.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I loved writing it!
Read my other articles on Shakespeare:
- The Writing Style of William Shakespeare (freelancewriting.com)
- The Bard and the Bird: How William Shakespeare Would Have Used Twitter (Yahoo!)