10 Things We Actually Didn’t Know

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article6856891.eceThese lists come up frequently – 10 things you didn’t know about Shakespeare!  Most of the time it’s boring for geeks, half common knowledge and half not really true anyway.So I’m happy that this one includes, at least to me, some new stuff.

3 Shakespeare hid on Robben Island

There was a copy of Shakespeare on Robben Island prison that one of the Indian ANC inmates had disguised as a Hindu prayer book. It got handed around, and various inmates would read it and underline their favourite quotations and autograph them. Walter Sisulu underlined “For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe”, Shylock’s line from The Merchant of Venice. Another ANC inmate underlined Caliban’s line from The Tempest: “This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother.” So you get very different spins on apartheid between those two quotations. Nelson Mandela’s favourite quote was from Julius Caesar, when Caesar himself says: “Cowards die many times before their death, the valiant only taste of death but once.”

Of special note is point #7, about Cardenio, where he says “We’ve found a bit and the RSC is going to produce it.”  The article was written in October, 2009 – so much for this week’s “discovery”, eh? :)I did know about the “raid” by Delia Bacon, the starlings, and King John in 1899, but a couple of the others were new (although a couple of them seem to be a stretch).

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