Shakespeare and his mask by Lydia KarpinskaYour model is disabled. For more details go to Edit properties3D Model
Shakespeare’s double life, as both an English and a universal artist (poet and playwright), begins with the First Folio of 1623. His friend Ben Jonson, addressing “the Reader”, initially says that “gentle Shakespeare” is the “soul of the age”, placing him firmly in a metropolitan context, as “the wonder of our stage”. A few lines later, however, Jonson contradicts himself, declaring that his rival “was not of an age, but for all time”.
This dynamic duality runs throughout Shakespeare’s life and work, making him an androgynous and timeless shape-shifter who is impossible to pin down. He’s “a man of fire-new words” (“equivocal”, “prodigious” and “antipathy”, for instance, get their first citations from him), with a vocabulary of 30,000 words. But he is also the master of the simplest construction, such as Henry’s devastating rebuke to Falstaff (“I know thee not, old man”) or Leontes touching Hermione’s statue in The Winter’s Tale (“O, she’s warm”), three words that any child could understand.