Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ye Olde Shakespeare Day

Today, April 23rd, marks the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth (1564, Stratford-upon-Avon) as well as his death (1616, New Place). Why, then, are we still calling for a National Shakespeare Day, not only in the States, but also in the United Kingdom? This day should have been designated to The Bard centuries ago.

There is plenty of debate when it comes to assigning top-dog status to someone in any branch of the humanities. Who was the greatest composer of classical music? Some claim Mozart, others claim Beethoven, still others claim Bach. Who was the greatest composer of opera? Some claim Verdi, others claim Puccini, still others claim Wagner (yuck!). Who was the greatest painter? Rembrandt? Van Gogh? Monet? The same debate can rage in pretty much all areas of the fine arts... except when it comes to English-language literature. There is no greater writer in the English canon than William Shakespeare, regardless of era or genre. I would like to go as far as pronouncing The Bard to be the greatest writer ever, but cannot because of my embarrassingly thorough ignorance of non-Western literature. Nevertheless, I cannot fathom the fact that we have idiotic designations like National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day or Lazy Day, but no Shakespeare Day on April 23rd! Disgraceful.

A few links of interest:

Join the cause and heed the call for a National Shakespeare Day, both in the UK and the US.

Brush up on The Bard's greatness -- here's his complete opus, courtesy of MIT.

Read about The Bard's life, theatre, and conspiracy theories about his authorship.

Browse through this plethora of Shakespeare resources, courtesy of Palomar College.

And, if nothing else, insult a friend, co-worker, or insignificant other, Shakespeare-style!

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