There's been a book around for something like 50 years called "Shakespeare's Bawdy" that serves as a dictionary for all the dirty words and puns that Shakespeare used. I have it, it's a very dry read. But people seem fascinated with this idea of finding the dirty words, and it seems like every now and then somebody does a new project that somehow finds even more bad words. Or perhaps they're just phrasing it differently, to keep up with the times.
In the new book "Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns" we're going to learn that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" really meant "Claudius has syphilis." And that the real meaning of "Hey nonny, nonny hey nonny" would make our old English teacher Mrs Grundy roll over in her grave.
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The very great irony of books and articles like this is how they titter and say "Yes, but what about the F word? Do you discuss the F word?" It's an article about a book about what amounts to 400yr old literary obscenity. The joke is "The world's greatest dramatist is being downright filthy right in front of you and you proclaim it a masterpiece", and in trying to make that reference, we're afraid to use our own dirty words. We're fascinated by the ones he used because we're so busy taking words out of our own language. It's still impossible for somebody to look you in the eye today and explain what Hamlet meant by "country matters."
By the way, can somebody please explain the Love's Labor's Lost reference in the article? It says "the modern version [of the provided quote] is impolite and you wouldn't read it to a bench of bishops." But it doesn't explain why, and I don't see any obvious puns, unless of course it's as easy as "dance" being a euphemism for, you know, that dreaded f-word. Although now that I look at it I am assuming that "needless" has to be some sort of phallic joke? Does that make Barbing (barb, thorn, something to stab with) a sex reference as well? It's funny how paranoid you get, you can find a sex reference in everything.More Filthy Shakespeare ...