Categorized | 2015 April

A constant two way exchange between (the) learned and the popular

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I came across this piece when researching for our Shakespeare edition and it really intrigued. It was a thought that had not occurred to me previously and I wonder if any of our members has any thoughts on its importance or indeed its veracity.

“( Shakespeare introduced) a constant two way exchange between (the) learned and the popular, together producing the unique combination of racy tang and the majestic stateliness that informs the language of Shakespeare.”

A little outmoded in presentation, but a very interesting thought. The English language has, without doubt, been enriched by the Bard even to the extent of introducing new words and phrases or perhaps borrowing from other languages when he felt the need to introduce more colour or expression. His genius for word creation is well documented as are his abilities to change nouns to verbs, with verbs, for extra effect being changed to adjectives. Whilst also adding suffixes or prefixes to existing words to expand their meaning, his inventive mind also produced wholly new words. Here is a link to a site that lists some of the words attributed to the Bard’s fertile brain.

Shakespeare’s true gift was the exuberance of his use of language that indeed linked ‘the Learned and the Popular.’  Some may be surprised to learn that these few phrases culled from  Brush Up Your Shakespeare: are indeed from the mighty pen of the person whose birthday we celebrate April 23rd.

  • Eaten out of house and home
    • Pomp and circumstance
    • Foregone conclusion
    • Full circle

Using phrases that are still in common usage today, his influence and entertainment value will never wane.


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