Your Brain on Shakespeare

Posted By on October 9, 2011

Your Brain on Sonnet 76.

Don’t look now, but Shakespeare makes you smarter.  At least, that’s what the neuroscientists are saying.

This article from BigThink reports on research by Professor Philip Davis from the University of Liverpool’s School of English,  conducted with assistance from colleagues in neuroscience, showing that Shakespeare’s “creative mistakes…shift mental pathways and open possibilities” for what the brain can do.

In the words of BigThink’s Daniel Honan, this means the ways Shakespeare’s “deliberate syntactic errors” — like changing the part of speech of a word– can serve to excite, rather than confuse, readers.

Why doesn’t that surprise us?

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


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