Barry Purves

William Shakespeare

Happy 450th Birthday, William Shakespeare! Well, sort of. We don’t know exactly when he was born, though the traditional date is April 23rd, 1564. It makes for good symmetry with his death 52 years later on April 23rd, 1616. We just aren’t quite sure. What we do know is that he was baptized on April 26th, 1564. Today is the 450th anniversary of that! And, given that we’re talking about the most influential writer in the history of the English language it does seem reasonable to celebrate his birthday for more than a single, potentially inaccurate Wednesday. Countless films have been inspired by the Bard’s work, including a handful of animated shorts. There’s Shakespearean Spinach, a ridiculous Popeye cartoon from 1940. A personal favorite is A Witch’s Tangled Hare, a Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1959 that builds its comedy from groan-inducing puns and vintage Looney Tunes absurdism. Yet instead of turning to the old studio shorts for material today, let’s look at Shakespeare through the work of a much more contemporary British artist.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.12.2014

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