William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
The actual date of Shakespeare's birth is not known, but, traditionally, April 23, St George's Day, has been Shakespeare's accepted birthday, and a house on Henley Street in Stratford, owned by William's father, John, is accepted as Shakespeare's birth place. However, the reality is that no one really knows when the great dramatist was born. According to The Book of Common Prayer, it was required that a child be baptized on the nearest Sunday or holy day following the birth, unless the parents had a legitimate excuse. As Dennis Kay proposes in his book Shakespeare:
If Shakespeare was indeed born on Sunday, April 23, the next feast day would have been St. Mark's Day on Tuesday the twenty-fifth. There might well have been some cause, both reasonable and great -- or perhaps, as has been suggested, St. Mark's Day was still held to be unlucky, as it had been before the Reformation, when altars and crucifixes used to be draped in black cloth, and when some claimed to see in the churchyard the spirits of those doomed to die in that year. . . .but that does not help to explain the christening on the twenty-sixth (54).
No doubt Shakespeare's true birthday will remain a mystery forever. But the assumption that the Bard was born on the same day of the month that he died, April 23, gives the mystery of his life one more fascinating aspect.
|Joseph Fiennes as Will Shakespeare|
Giveaway : 1 book, 1 winner
To celebrate Shakespeare's genius and his 449th birthday here's a great giveaway contest for you. Choose one of the Shakespeare-related books in the list below, leave a comment with the title you would like to win, add your e-mail address and ... good luck! The books are all paperbacks. The contest is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on April 30th.
2. Bill Bryson, Shakespeare: The World as a Stage
3. Rex Gibson, Teaching Shakespeare
4. Gary Blackwood, The Shakespeare Stealer
5. Lisa Hopkins, Beginning Shakespeare
6. J.L. Carrell , The Shakespeare Secret
7. Richard Paul Roe, The Shakespeare's Guide to Italy
8. C. Aagesen and M. Blumberg, Shakespeare for Kids
9. William Shakespeare, Complete Sonnets and Poems
10. Any of Shakespeare's plays in this edition (choose your title in your comment)