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April 22, 2005 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Shakespeare was a barber? Possibly, possibly. Not a bad way to make a farthing if true. Barbers have collected in their long and colorful history their own medical ailments, their own mathematical paradoxes, heck, they've even picked up one or two patron saints along the way.
Their members include singers, dancers, psychics, psychopaths, and cross-dressers. Ol' Will may have had tonsorial talent, but I suspect he'll never replace America's sweetheart.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I love the idea that Shakespeare was collecting stories of people whose hair he was cutting, like in Barbershop.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2005


some scholars think that Homer could have been a surgeon:
Homer in his account of the Trojan war, has provided us with an adequate insight to the understanding of injuries at that time and the treatment used for those injuries. The Iliad also contains references to various deformities. Homer mentions nearly 150 different wounds most with surprising anatomical accuracy. For instance Harpalion, a prince allied with the Trojans, is struck from behind by an enemy arrow. Homer explains that this was a fatal wound, for although the arrow entered near the right buttock, it sliced through the body, missed the pelvic and pubic bones, and hit the bladder (Il. XIII. 640-653). In the Iliad, wounds to the arms and legs are painful but not deadly (the story of Achilles' and his famous heel is not mentioned in the poem). On the other hand, all of the 31 different head wounds were lethal
see also: Deaths in the Iliad
posted by matteo at 12:14 PM on April 22, 2005


I scanned through the Shaksberd-as-barber work—amusing for its utter unconvincingness. The man's knowledge of everyday life seems to have been so encyclopedic that one could probably prove him to have had any occupation by using his texts.

But what his characters say is one thing, and what he actually "thought" is another, and we conflate the two at our peril.

BTW, Hamlet's "there's the rub" refers not to the comforting stimulation of a shampoo (!) but to the grain of a bowling lawn.
posted by ancientgower at 1:20 PM on April 22, 2005


I would tend to agree with you ancientgower. With the enormous body of work available, an enterprising grad student could make a very good case for Willie's 'real' job to be any number of things (matteo's excellent comment above shows the joys of picking and choosing other author's texts as well). It's more an example of scholastic text-felching than anything else. Sort of like those folks who extract entire sermons from a half-line of bible verse. Heaven only knows what 23rd century theses will be written about Ms. Rowling and her Harry Potters.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 1:42 PM on April 22, 2005


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