Ten Things We Knew

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/article6060430.ece I feel obliged to click on these stories, just in case one of them turns up something I didn’t, in fact, already know. This one has nothing new under the sun – shotgun wedding, Venus and Adonis, 1700 new words coined, etc etc etc. While it mentions the second-best bed, it gives no reason to believe that it was “possibly the couple’s marriage bed.” The article itself is pretty badly written.  For instance:

8. At least two of Shakespeare’s plays, Love’s Labour’s Won and Cardenio, have disappeared entirely without trace. Love’s Labour’s Won is a follow-up to his early romantic comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost, while Cardenio is thought to have been a version of Don Quixote.

If they disappeared without a trace, we wouldn’t know that they existed.  That’s also the first time I’ve seen somebody make the leap that because Cardenio was a character *in* Don Quixote, that Shakespeare’s play of the same name must therefore be his version of the same story. Or…

He was just 18 when he got Anne Hathaway pregnant with their first child, Susannah (she was 26),

Wait, so who was 26, Susannah?   And…

His only son, Hamnet (the name was relatively common), died at the age of 11, but his sister Judith lived to be 77.

Whose sister, Hamnet’s or Shakespeare’s? Instead of telling us that Hamnet was a common name I think I would have preferred to hear about the neighbors, Hamnet and Judith, for whom the twins were named. Normally I wouldn’t nitpick – my grammar’s hardly stellar – but these are apparently excerpts from a book called the Rough Guide to Shakespeare.  I hope the book is better edited than the article.

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