I Say We Shall Have No More Bard!

Earlier today, Stanley Wells wrote on Twitter:

Also I never ever refer to Shakespeare as ‘the bard’. So don’t let me see any of you doing so either.

This set off quite the tweetstorm from his followers, many of whom (myself included) chimed in with admissions of guilt. I plead innocent on the grounds of technological limitation, though!  I’m only talking about times when I use the word bard in a typed form, such as web sites that won’t let me use “ShakespeareGeek”.   Or, of course, if there’s a pun to be made.  I can never resist a good pun. Spoken, though? I honestly don’t think I ever refer to Shakespeare as anything but Shakespeare when speaking of him. Thoughts?

22 thoughts on “I Say We Shall Have No More Bard!

  1. I can't say I've ever been a fan of calling him the Bard, but it doesn't drive me completely insane–as it does when people just call him "Billy."

    Or, horrifically, "Billy the Bodacious Bard."

  2. I have a few friends who refer to him as Shax (pronounced Shakes) and I also find myself using that around them. I guess it's just a symptom of the modern American predilection to abbreviate everything. 😉

  3. So is the term "Bard" barred now? Will Mr. Wells come and put us in a place with barred windows?

    I can understand, though. Correct language matters. I mean, if a lawyer were to misuse language and ruin his client's case, he could be disbarred.

  4. Afraid "Swan" is not OK either. Mr. Wells has instigated the swansong for that term. Oh Wells. Personally, I can't really Stan such arrogance, but at least it Shakes up some conversation on the blog.

    I can't help myself. Somebody stop me before I pun again.

  5. I have made use of the term. I feel no guilt for doing so. Spoken sometimes, but more often when written. (As a writer, I am sort of programmed to finding more than one way of referencing something or someone with a piece. I even use "The Stratfordian" in certain contexts when writing.

    But "Shakespeare" is usually what I say, with "The Bard" a distant second. Nothing else really.

  6. I hate to speak for him, J, but it does appear to have come out of left field – "I never see television. Oh, and I never call Shakespeare the bard, either."

    I think he's just in a silly mood and didn't expect everybody to jump on it like they did.

  7. Hmmm, keeping the puns going, I suppose it's matter of free choice, or you can just do, "As You Like It." I we can't use the bard, why not go Groatsworth, "A tiger's heart, wrapped in a player's hide"

  8. Personally, I prefer:

    "Gulielmus filius Johannes Shaksper"

    anyway. And henceforth will refer to him by no other moniker. Of course, my posts will be a weeee bit longer than normal, Duane. You can thank Stanley 🙂

  9. Then is "Swan" okay? Or will he also take issue with Ben Jonson 'himselfe'?
    Bard is an honorable ancient Celtic term for a heroic poet or 'storyteller'. I can't find the origins (who first referred to him as "The Bard")…yet.
    But it must have been only a matter of time before "Swan of Avon" became "Bard of Avon". And numerous serious scholars–other than Mr. Welles–have been "guilty" of referring to Shakespeare as "The Bard of Avon" or simply "The Bard".

  10. Maybe we really should take him seriously. I'll stop here. After all, wasn't it Gulielmus filius Johannes Shaksper himself who said, "All's Wells That Ends Wells" ?

  11. Andrew: Being merely an "Upstart Crow", a "Johannes fac totum" you might say at the art of punning, I'm Greene with envy of your witticism.

  12. I think Mr. Wells's tweet should be taken in the context of those that came just before and after: 1. Wondering if he is the only one who does not watch TV. 2. Allowing himself to have a bacon sandwich.

    I prefer the blogosphere to twitterdom (aka, inanosphere).

    –Carl (a fan of The Bard)

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  14. Sorry about the spam (briefly), sometimes those sneak in and stay alive until I can get to the "delete with extreme prejudice" button.

  15. Wish I had talent for punning. Anyway, as a doubter on the authorship issue, I've sometimes found it useful to refer to "the Bard" to indicate that I'm referring to whoever wrote the plays, not necessarily to William Shakespeare, the guy from Stratford.

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