Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Leading British academics are seeking to persuade the European parliament to adopt Shakespeare as its European laureate in time for the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.
Keen to promote Europe's shared cultural heritage, they are also planning a European Shakespeare Ode, inspired by the Garrick Ode – a poem created in 1769 by David Garrick, the greatest actor of his day, who sparked a major resurgence of interest in Shakespeare during the 18th century. It was Garrick's staging of a spectacular three-day celebration that firmly established the Bard's literary reputation and made Stratford-upon-Avon a centre for literary tourism.
Now history could repeat itself in 2016. Just as Garrick revived interest in Shakespeare across Europe – with Goethe among those who were inspired – plans are being drawn up to reaffirm Shakespeare as a truly international figure in the 21st century.