Manual of Style @ChicagoManual
'Tis #TalkLikeShakespeare Day! Partake in the celebration with Gary Logan's The Eloquent Shakespeare: http://bit.ly/J4Qijz
So, for your enjoyment and edification:
- To participate in #TalkLikeShakespeare Day, the easiest thing you can do is add -eth or -est to your verbs. Avoid, at all costs, the temptation to add them willy-nilly to other words. They represent a difference in verb forms between the 16th century and today. Like so:
Thou talkest (modern: you talk) You talk
He/She/It talketh (modern: he/she/it talks) They talk
Note how few changes have been wrought in our pronouns and verb forms by four hundred years'
- Words and phrases coined by William Shakespeare (that is, his work represents their first appearance in the written record) include: a sorry sight, addiction, all's well that ends well, bag and baggage, bedazzled, cold-blooded, come what may, distasteful, enrapt, fancy free, foul play, good riddance, to gossip, green-eyed monster, wear my heart upon my sleeve, lie low, luggage, milk of human kindness, mimic, new-fangled, quarrelsome, rhyme nor reason, schoolboy, short shrift, the game is afoot, truth will out, unearthly, vanish into thin air, and woe is me! Find more here and here.
- Spelling in the 16th century was far more flexible than it is today (less work for us in our proofreading guise!). No single arbiter had yet to standardize spellings, though we can see where printers would sometimes do so, altering a spelling from the manuscript from which they were setting the type. That being the case, The Bard's name appears, at various times and places, as Shakespere, Shakspere, Shaxpere, Shake-speare and Shagspere, along with the more common, modern adoption, Shakespeare.
- Go here for a brief biography of Shakespeare. For a longer, well-researched and entirely enjoyable one, get Bill Bryson's Shakespeare.
- Enjoy Animaniacs' Hamlet here!
- For those in the upper Midwest who would like to have William Shakespeare visit their school, local library, or literary-themed/social event, contact Optimist Theatre for their wonderful To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now program. [Full disclosure: we are fortunate to count several of the Optimist Theatre principals as friends, including Ron Scot Fry, who portrays Will Shakespeare!]
- We fall firmly on the Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare side of the "debate," for what it's worth. Though there has never been a point at which we were in any doubt, had we needed persuasion, Bryson's book amply points out the origins of the question (in the 1840s, when American Delia Bacon felt it in her spirit that her namesake, Francis Bacon, must have written Shakespeare's works), and how reasonable it is to presume that a cigar is just a cigar. Sir Ian McKellen, in his wonderful Acting Shakespeare, points out that it's plain within the text that the man who wrote the words is also an actor. If you've any fondness for Shakespeare or McKellen, by the way, this is well worth your time. As to authorship, if you desire a more immediate, though far less conversational, rehearsal of why we should just take on face value that Shakespeare of Stratford was the author of the plays, visit here.
- The illustration shown above is one of only two representations clearly identified as William Shakespeare. One is the bust on his funeral monument, and this illustration, known as the
Droeshout portrait. Engraved by Martin Droeshout, it appeared as the frontispiece to "the collected works of Shakespeare (the First Folio), printed in 1622 and published in 1623. An introductory poem in the First Folio, by Ben Jonson, implies that it is a very good likeness."