|William Shakespeare - copper engraving|
by Martin Droeshout, 1623 - public domain
One of the greatest observers of human nature, who put his finger on just the right pulse of emotion and motivation, the Bard remains a tremendous literary force centuries after his own era. His works, naturally, abound in libraries everywhere and continue to provide librarians' livelihoods. Even those who have never read his works are still familiar with phrases and passages from them. He is eminently quotable and the internet is replete with pages of his most famous aphorisms. For all his eminence, so little is actually known about him personally; although many feel they have a good sense of who he was since so much has been written about him. Not long ago, Bill Bryson published a very nice encapsulation of what is known about Shakespeare and what still remains a mystery. In Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage, we learn that a lot remains a mystery, including even his physical appearance. He states, “Even Scientific American entered the fray with an article proposing that the person portrayed in the famous Martin Droeshout engraving might actually be--I weep to say it--Elizabeth I.” We may not know the man, but we can enjoy and appreciate his wondrous literary legacy. Thank you, Will!