Shakespearean surprises

Last Updated on April 15, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

This oft-cited story about Shakespeare’s wealth and how he got it in the Telegraph led me–as the Internet often does–to something else: Shakespeare as therapy.

Brain scans indicate that reading the unfamiliar language and complex syntax in classical writing such as Shakespeare and Wordsworth spurs a great deal of brain stimulus and introspection. Reading both plays and poetry proved beneficial, but especially poetry. The studies found that reading classical poetry proved more beneficial than reading self-help books.

Reading modern renderings of classical writing in contemporary language proved less beneficial, suggesting that the unfamiliarity provides some of the benefit.


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