Stratford Upon Avon and Shakespeare

A bit of Bardology… It’s almost impossible to think of Stratford-Upon-Avon without Shakespeare springing to mind but how well do you think you know the ‘Bard’?

Read on , we think you will find these facts quite interesting and if you find, as you read, that you have some Shakespeare knowledge you would like to share please leave us a comment.

Stratford Upon Avon is the home of whom?
Stratford Upon Avon is the home of whom?

Shakespeare’s plays are plenty and although they have never stopped being popular, in the 17th century it was very common for theatre producers to change his plays ‘for the better’, in order to appeal to taste. They would think nothing of taking out the corny puns and the frequent saucy bits, and even altering the endings to make tragedies like

Juliet Balcony Verona Romeo and Juliet

into comedies!

One extremely sanitised version of his collected works, which deleted around ten percent of the original text, was published by Henrietta Maria (aka Harriet) Bowdler in 1807. The title page of The Family Shakespeare informs the reader that it is an edition

‘in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family’.

The edition became notorious, and today the word ‘bowdlerisation’ is used to describe any work similarly cut, altered and heavily censored.

On a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon simply wondering around the delightful streets is a really good way to spend a day, as our colleague Charlotte recently discovered on a break, but you may also like to visit

Holy Trinity Church Stratfordthe Church of the Holy Trinity in the Old Town, situated River Avon Stratfordright on the Avon just north of the Seven Meadows Bridge.Shakespeare was baptised and buried here, and there is a faded inscription threatening a curse on whoever disturbs his bones, which many think explains why he was not subsequently moved to Westminster Abbey.

There is also a small shrine-like wall monument, created just 7 years after the Bard’s death and bearing what is probably the most true and accurate likeness of him to be found anywhere.

Finally…have you ever wondered where the phrase ‘Bardolatry’ comes from? – you have, great!

Bernard Shaw coined this sarcastic term in frustration at the tendency of some enthusiasts to claim not only that Shakespeare was the best English Writer who ever lived, but also that he was the finest philosopher, psychologist, social theorist and political analyst who ever lived too…would you agree with this?

Well, Shaw was happy to recognise the ruff-collared writer’s creative talents, but thought this kind of ‘bardolatry’ was pushing it a bit far.

If you have any other Shakespeare snippets? Just let us know and we would love to add them in!

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