Historians believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, making today his 449th birthday. He also died on this date in 1616. And so Shakespeare is the subject of today’s Mind Memes.
Shakespeare might be a poet for all seasons, but Germaine Greer writes in The New Yorker that the bard had a special penchant for spring:
A poet may recollect the early spring of his native countryside when he is far away. For him to do so as vividly as Shakespeare does, however, suggests that for him rural Warwickshire was not a place of irksome exile in the custody of an aging and unloved wife, but a place his soul longed after, and where it eventually found peace.
Read more here.
2. Shakespeare, mathematician
Shakespeare had a penchant for the number 14, writing in rigid iambic pentameter. In the video below, Professor Roger Bowley explains how poetry is “an extreme form of wordplay in which numbers dictate form and structure.”
Read more at Brainpickings.
3. Richard III Had Severe Scoliosis
Archaeologists have excavated King Richard III’s bones that were discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England in February. They have now concluded that the king portrayed as an evil hunchback by Shakespeare may have endured painful treatments to correct severe scoliosis.
So what does this tell us about this enigmatic man and how might it help answer the question “What was he like, really?” Read more here.
4. Shakespeare, The Murder Mystery Game
Shakespeare is brought to life this excellent online game that involves a series of bizarre murders. Players are asked to collect information, solve puzzles and interview suspects, immersing them in the context of Shakespeare’s world.
Check it out here.
5. Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin upThine own life’s means!
In a highly anticipated performance, Alan Cumming “gets to indulge in the kind of high-hurdle challenge (or ego trip) that can prove irresistible to actors,” writes Charles Isherwood in his review of The National Theater of Scotland’s production of Macbeth, now playing in New York. Cumming not only plays Macbeth, he also plays all of the other major roles in what is essentially a one-man show. Isherwood’s judgement: “while Mr. Cumming had persuasively differentiated all the key roles, he had not fully inhabited any one of them.”
Read the review here.