How can we speak of the Bard without using his household words? Shakespeare coined hundreds of words and phrases which are still used to this day; without him, English would be a sorry sight. Jane Sutcliffe's foreword to Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk gives us the long and short of it:
We have to talk. I have failed you. I set out to write a book about the Globe Theatre and its great storyteller, William Shakespeare. About how the man was an absolute genius with words and wove those words into the most brilliant and moving plays ever written.
But that's just the trouble. You see, I wanted to tell you the story in my own words. But Will Shakespeare's words are there, too, popping up all over the place.
It's not my fault. Really. Will's words are everywhere. They're bumping into our words all the time, and we don't even know it. So how could I help it, for goodness' sake?
There, you see what I mean? Those are Will's words, all mixed in with mine. People just love his plays, and they've kept on loving them for hundreds of years–hundreds!
And the more they love his plays, the more they use his words. Now his words and sayings are everywhere, ending up in the stuff we say and write every day. I couldn't avoid them if I tried–and I did try.
Well, I suppose what's done is done.
Maybe I'll just stop now and let you read the book.
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