What is there still to say about Shakespeare? It’s all been said and done, we might have been thinking, but Prof. Dr. Beatrix Busse readily showed us to be wrong. How quickly she got us into her field of research. In a nutshell: which words were invented by Shakespeare and which had actually been used before Shakespeare? Using the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and more recently a database, words which were thought to be Shakespearean were found in earlier texts. For example, “towncrier” was used in the Bible, or “bodikin”. Prof. Busse cited so many examples that we became fascinated with her research. She has an engaging way of presenting her ideas, so that what might have been a dry, linguistic report became very much alive. “Unquiet meals make for ill digestion.” or, “salad days”, i.e. my salad days are over, many of us can relate to that!
I cannot do Prof. Busse justice in this brief report, and have asked for a manuscript of her talk, let it suffice to say, she was able to fascinate us with a rather, to most of us, lesser-known aspect of Shakespeare. If you Google her, her C.V. is amazing and impressive. Presently, she is Professor of English Linguistics and Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Teaching at the University of Cologne. We were lucky to have such an inspiring, thought-provoking IN meeting, perfectly fitting as our last before our big 75th anniversary, and in fact, our last of this year, 2023.