Happy 450, William Shakespeare! BBC America posted 45 everyday phrases either coined or popularized by William Shakespeare and then challenged readers to work five of the phrases into conversation today. I think I can easily use 10 if not more, how about you? In the not too distant past – researchers, students and readers of Shakespeare as well as reference librarians relied upon a concordance of Shakespeare’s dramatic works or poems to find which play or sonnet contained a word or phrase. While in our “brave new world” (The Tempest) Google makes finding quotes a snap, the library still retains a number of books on phrases, idioms and figures of speech in the Reference Collection. Titles such as A Hog on Ice and other Curious Expressions and Loanwords dictionary : a lexicon of more than 6,500 words and phrases encountered in English contexts show evidence of much use back when finding that special turn of phrase required using print resources.
Every summer I so look forward to Riverside Theatre in the Park’s presentation of at least one of Shakespeare’s plays. The venue is marvelous, (especially when it hasn’t been flooded out), the costuming and the sets are splendid, but for me what is best of all is the beauty of the language. I could, as Shakespeare so aptly put, listen “forever and a day” (As You Like It). If you would like to whet your appetite for Shakespeare this summer you will not want to miss, Theatre in the Park: Othello with Miriam Gilbert, on Thursday night, May 8 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A.