Shakespeare 450: Birthday Celebrations Honor World-Renowned Writer

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Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 01:37 PM

By Michael Mullins

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William Shakespeare's 450th birthday was celebrated around the world Wednesday as fans and organizations honored the man who is widely considered to be England's national poet.

Born in Warwickshire, England, on April 26, 1564, Shakespeare wrote some 38 plays and 154 sonnets during his life, having died on the very same day in which he was born 52 years later.

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In London, the Guildhall Library hosted English actor Damian Lewis of "Band of Brothers" and "Homeland" fame, and who kick-started his acting career by starring on the stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993.

"The renaissance in Europe was largely a visual one and here our renaissance I believe was in words, in language, less so in the visual arts and Shakespeare was at the forefront of that," Lewis said at the event, the Daily Mail reported.

"He redefined our language. He was irreverent, playful, witty, punning and versatile with words," Lewis added. "Budge an inch, dead as a doornail — it's all Greek to me. These are all Shakespearean words we use today that he invented himself."

Shakespeare's 450th birthday trended on Twitter throughout the day, with fans of the late English poet expressing their appreciation of his contribution to literature. One fan compiled many of today's frequently used quotes and expressions that originated in Shakespearean works.

On Monday, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London hosted an all-day birthday celebration for the world famous writer, while Washington D.C.'s Folger Shakespeare Library also celebrated the man earlier in the month with various events including a scavenger hunt, sonnet recitations, and an Elizabethan crafts fair, The Huffington Post reported.

On Wednesday, UCLA's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library held a party called Shakespeare’s Bookshelf, in which they showcased works that were believed to have influenced the English writer throughout his life, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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