Language The 1623 First Folio was the first collection of Shakespeare… To the versification of the English language, he imparted his eloquence and variety giving highest expressions with elasticity of language. “There was nothing preserved of this great genius,” wrote Adams, sadly, “which might inform us what accident turned his mind to letters and drama.” This has never inhibited the American “bardolatry” which, during the 19th century, would morph into bizarre (and ultimately pointless) disputes about the authorship of the plays.  He created these words by "changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original. Shakespeare influenced many writers in the following centuries, including major novelists such as Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and William Faulkner. The actor David Garrick almost single-handedly resurrected Shakespeare’s 18th-century reputation with his Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769, a belated recognition of the playwright’s bicentenary. Last modified on Sat 2 Dec 2017 04.33 GMT.  Shakespeare added a considerable number of words to the English language when compared to additions to English vocabulary made in other times. Available for everyone, funded by readers. When former president Bill Clinton says “our engagement with Shakespeare has been long and sustained: generation after generations of Americans has fallen under his spell,“ he’s acknowledging this most surprising fact – that Shakespeare’s afterlife as the greatest playwright is now as much an American as a British phenomenon, integral to American culture and society.  Scholars estimate that, between the years 1500 and 2018, nouns, verbs and modifiers of Latin, Greek and modern Romance languages added 30,000 new words to the English language. His devastating portrait of the hunchbacked king as a “bottled spider” has had a long afterlife. I have written elsewhere about how misleading it can be to think of Shakespeare as modern Britain’s national poet. English was never his mother tongue.  In King Lear, Shakespeare had deliberately brought together two plots of different origins. Shortly after the news of the referendum result, I heard some English politicians being interviewed on BBC radio. Shakespeare’s student prince is the first western dramatic protagonist to be conceived as an individual tormented by complex inner conflicts and desires. He developed theatre to an amazing extent and changed the way theatre is today. The second, the sonnets and poetry, was bound in structure. You can read this article in French. But, speaking about the Collected Works of William Shakespeare, he once said: “Shakespeare always seems to have something to say to us.”. deposed king’s bones in a Leicester car park.  Specifically, in plays like Hamlet, Shakespeare "integrated characterization with plot," such that if the main character was different in any way, the plot would be totally changed. He has populated our imagination like no other writer: Hamlet, Juliet’s Nurse, Macbeth, Mistress Quickly, Lear, Othello, Shylock, Portia, Prospero and Romeo … the list of classic archetypes stretches out to the crack of doom (Macbeth), a cast of characters perhaps more real to us than any others in our literature.  Examples of this influence include the large number of Shakespearean quotations throughout Dickens' writings and the fact that at least 25 of Dickens' titles are drawn from Shakespeare, while Melville frequently used Shakespearean devices, including formal stage directions and extended soliloquies, in Moby-Dick. His skills have found expression in chronicles, or history plays, and tragedies. and King Lear being ranked among the world's greatest plays), and transformed English theatre by expanding expectations about what could be accomplished through plot and language. One of them remarked with apparent satisfaction that membership of the European Union had now been rejected by a majority of ‘our countrymen.’ Another, a woman, observed that the entire referendum campaign had been a very masculine affair, and pointed to her adversary’s telling use of the word ‘countrymen.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ he replied, ‘I have been reading the works of our national poet, and it must have affected my vocabulary.’. The young Shakespeare’s message to his audiences seems to be that there might be other things to do than write plays. Shakespeare, it is true, never used the word ‘European,’ but he did come across it: its first recorded appearance is in Richard Knolles’ General History of the Turks (1603), on which Shakespeare drew for some of the military background to Othello. His recognition of the unconscious took Shakespeare’s fascination with the mind of man to a new level and he scattered the poet’s insights throughout his own psychoanalytic writing. Why Study Shakespeare? Other great classical composers who loved Shakespeare include Berlioz (The Tempest), Mendelssohn (Midsummer Night’s Dream), and Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, both inspired by Romeo & Juliet. In the Falstaff trilogy, through the character of Falstaff, he wants to show that in society "where touchstone of conduct is a success, and in which humanity has to accommodate itself to the claims of expediency, there is no place for Falstaff", a loyal human being.  Use of groundlings enhanced Shakespeare's work practically and artistically. From the first, he was always pitching his work on the biggest stage imaginable. Sun 17 Apr 2016 07.00 BST Shakespeare's gift involved using the exuberance of the language and decasyllabic structure in prose and poetry of his plays to reach the masses and the result was "a constant two way exchange between learned and the popular, together producing the unique combination of racy tang and the majestic stateliness that informs the language of Shakespeare". Shakespeare's influence extends from theatre and literatures to present-day movies, Western philosophy, and the English language itself. Shakespeare’s double life, as both an English and a universal artist (poet and playwright), begins with the First Folio of 1623. Gradually his language followed the "natural process of artistic growth, to find its adequate projection in dramatic form".  His characters were very near to reality. Falstaff, for instance, grandiloquently signing a letter to the would-be crusader Henry IV’s son prince Hal, proclaims himself ‘Jack Falstaff with my familiars, John with my brothers and sisters, and Sir John with all Europe.’. Back in 2012, the British Library displayed a rare book that attracted as much media attention as a Gutenberg Bible. The Language from Chaucer to Shakespeare – 11. , While it is true that Shakespeare created many new words (the Oxford English Dictionary records over 2,000), an article in National Geographic points out the findings of historian Jonathan Hope who wrote in "Shakespeare's 'Native English'" that "the Victorian scholars who read texts for the first edition of the OED paid special attention to Shakespeare: his texts were read more thoroughly and cited more often, so he is often credited with the first use of words, or senses of words, which can, in fact, be found in other writers.". " Many of Shakespeare's original phrases are still used in conversation and language today. The free speech rhythm gave Shakespeare more freedom for experimentation.  Falstaff, although outside "the prevailing political spirit of the play", throws insight into the different situations arising in the play. Two future US presidents, Jefferson and Adams, visited “the birthplace” on Henley Street and paid a shilling to see Shakespeare’s grave. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. West Side Story (Romeo & Juliet) is not just Bernstein’s masterpiece. In Shakespeare’s England, as in ours, the health service seems to depend on imported labour, and in The Merry Wives, nobody suggests for a moment that Dr Caius doesn’t have at least as much the right to live and work in Windsor as do the Fords and the Pages. The naturalness gave force and freedom since there was no formalized prescriptive grammar binding the expression. What makes Shakespeare endlessly adaptable? Shakespeare, whose works have helped inspire emancipatory movements right across the continent, has long been celebrated as European drama’s most internationally popular exemplar of freedom of expression. One of his last plays, Cymbeline, closes with heartfelt rejoicing that, after a brief, aberrant and villainous outbreak of short-sighted and insular nationalism, Britain has chosen to rejoin the Roman empire. When the two get farcically into a quarrel that threatens to become a duel, the local pub landlord is just as keen to preserve the lives of each. Find out about the British Council's Shakespeare Lives programme of events and activities in 2016, celebrating Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death. He is a countryman of us all. William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the history of the English language, and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Perhaps we should be celebrating him as a champion of freedom of movement, as well. However, in Love's Labour's Lost and The Comedy of Errors, there is "perfect metre-abundance of rime [rhyme], plenty of prose, arrangement in stanza".
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