HAPPY BIRTHDAY – William Shakespeare, 23 April
William Shakespeare certainly made the whole world his stage. He is the most famous and the greatest writer of all time – he has shaped our language, our thought, our understanding of humanity. At the end of 1999, when it was decided to choose a Man of the Millennium, there was really only one choice – William Shakespeare!
Shakespeare is now over 450 years old. We cannot be certain that he was born on 23 April. He was baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 April, and custom has decreed that his birthday should be remembered on England’s national day, St George’s Day.
Shakespeare left us 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two long narrative poems. His plays have been performed more often than those of any other playwright, have been translated into every major language, and there is not a minute of the day where, somewhere in the world, his Hamlet is being staged.
Well might Ben Jonson say that he “was not of an age, but for all time”. Celebrate his birthday today by going to see a Shakespeare performance, or reading one of his sonnets or great speeches
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