Today we celebrate the birth of this famous bard of literature. Undoubtedly, Shakespeare gave the world some of the most memorable dramas, each filled with memorable and quotable words and phrases. This year has a special significance and it marks 451 years since he was born, so there are many big celebrations all over Britain – not just today but all year. Here’s a few factoids you may not know about the Bard.
1. He was the most productive author who ever walked upon Earth. His complete works consist of 884,647 words.
2. Many of the words in the English language have been created by Shakespeare. In fact, he coined over 500 words. Some of them include: lackluster, madcap, never-ending etc.
3. He wrote 39 plays, out of which one was lost (Cardenio).
4. His longest play is Hamlet (4, 042 lines) and his shortest play is The Comedy of Errors (1, 787 lines).
5. He had three children with his wife Anne Hathaway. Namely, a son – Hamnet, and two daughters – Susanna and Judith. They’ve all died, thus he has no descendants.
6. His primary profession was acting. He acted in his own plays and also in a Ben Johnson’s play. As busy as he was with the writing, the managing of the theater and all, he didn’t undertake big parts.
7. He had only finished grammar school. Students there learned Latin, math and religion. They also read classical literature and studied using a horn-book.
8. He is the most translated author ever. His work is read in at least 80 languages, including Klingon, Chinese, Italian, Armenian, Bengali, Tagalog, Uzbek and Krio (spoken by freed slaves in Sierra Leone).
9. There is a portion of his life we know nothing about. To the dismay of his biographers, Shakespeare disappears from the historical record between 1585, when his twins’ baptism was recorded, and 1592, when the playwright Robert Greene denounced him in a pamphlet as an “upstart crow.” The insult suggests he’d already made a name for himself on the London stage by then. What did the newly married father and future literary icon do during those seven “lost” years? Historians have speculated that he worked as a schoolteacher, studied law, traveled across continental Europe or joined an acting troupe that was passing through Stratford.
10. When one looks at his own signatures from his life and from contemporaries who wrote about him – the name spelled differently more than 80 times.