The creation of William Shakespeare: How the Bard really became a legend – Salon.com

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bard is back. With the recent discovery of a previously unknown First Folio in a French library, Shakespeare has once again been thrust into the limelight (as if he ever left).”

“Shakespeare’s current status is often described as “bardolatry,” an excessive veneration of the man marked by elaborate myths about who he was and what he really accomplished. One of the more popular myths involves Shakespeare’s “wildly extensive” vocabulary and ferocious knack for coining new words. (In reality, Shakespeare’s vocabulary was less than half of the average person’s today and he only coined 229 new words, coming in 4th among English wordsmiths.) Over the years, Shakespearean scholars have laboriously worked to debunk those myths. (For a great example of this type of work, check out Oxford scholars Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith’s recent book, “30 Myths About Shakespeare.”) However, despite the best efforts of experts, some misperceptions about the Bard still refuse to die.”

via The creation of William Shakespeare: How the Bard really became a legend – Salon.com.

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