Monday, July 30, 2012

A Professional Gentleman of Leisure

One of the points that Emerson makes in his English Traits is a vast difference between the British and American. He states that in England there is a noble race of men, committed to an aesthetic and higher morality than the common man, whose lofty ambition is to enjoy life through meditation on art, discourse with other nobility, and the pursuit of greatness in literature. In short... a complete gentleman. I love this... so in true Emerson fashion... here are some gentlemanly details to chew on and aspire toward.
Shakespeare was born April 23rd 1564 and died around the same day in April 1616, most scholars agree he may not have “officially” died on his birthday, but it just sounds cooler. He was 52.
Will had seven brothers and sisters and two of them were named Joan. He married Anne Hathaway, no… not Catwoman, because he knocked her up when he was 17 and she was 26. Sweet! They had three children together, but son Hamnet died as a boy sending Will into desperate grief.
Shakespeare died very wealthy, bequeathing to his wife their bedclothes… which she probably appreciated more than one might think.
He is buried in Holy Trinity Church, just about half a mile from his home. One of Shakespeare’s relatives, William Arden (like the Forest in As You Like It which is a street behind the house) was executed for plotting against Queen Lizzie… in the Tower of London.
He wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. There is even a record that he played the Ghost in Hamlet. The American President Abraham Lincoln was a great admirer of Shakespeare’s plays and often quoted them, his assassin, John Wilkes Booth was a famous Shakespearean actor. Shakespeare’s shortest play, The Comedy of Errors is only about 1/3 the length of his longest, Hamlet, which takes over 4 hours. Speaking of Hamlet, along with Much Ado About Nothing, both have been translated into Klingon.

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