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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How Well Does the Bard Dispense Profanity?

August 10, 2017

Our copywriter, Eric, checks out some Shakespeare silliness.

There are more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy

Having played a certain infamous, misanthropic card game a few times, I was curious about whether our Shakespearean version—Bards Dispense Profanity (BDP)—would provide a similar level of smutty, giggle-inducing fun. Or would it be a tedious, highbrow take on a very lowbrow phenomenon? Only one way to find out.

This report is inspired by our long-running Gift Lab series, but I took some poetic license with the scientific method. After all, Will would want it that way.

Now, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!


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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Does Juliet Still Get Mail?

February 8, 2016


Indeed, she does! In fair Verona where we lay our scene, the volunteer Secretaries of il Club di Giulietta (the Juliet Club) receive, read, and respond to more than 6,000 letters from the lovelorn each year. Think of it as “Dear Abby” with a Shakespearean inspiration. Believe it or not, you can pen your desires, romantic dreams, and tragic tales of unrequited love, address them simply to “Juliet / Verona,” and they’ll be delivered to the Club’s team of concerned cupids. The Secretaries read every one, save them in an archive, and send a handwritten response to the author with encouragement and advice for how to mend a broken heart. If you’re not into the pen-and-paper approach, you can pour your heart out digitally in a note via the Club’s website. Whatever form it takes, your letter will play a role in a centuries-old romantic tradition inspired by the Bard’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers.

Juliet Capulet Print | $110-180

The Uncommon Life

Celebrating The Bard’s Birthday: 5 Uncommon Facts About Shakespeare

April 22, 2015

Shakespeare Printable Party Kit | UncommonGoods

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, so it’s pretty impressive that someone who was born 451 years ago is still influencing pop culture today. (On the other hand, he’s had plenty of time to make a lasting impression!) Not only do we owe words, commonly used phrases, and even a popular first name to The Bard, here at UncommonGoods we also owe him for inspiring our Shakespearean Soiree Printable Party Kit. Our kit is packed with fun Shakespeare facts, making it a great way to sneak a little nerdery into your party. (Bonus fun fact, “nerd” actually wasn’t coined by Shakespeare, the credit for that one goes to Dr. Seuss.)

We worked with our friends at Mental_Floss to find the perfect pieces of trivia to incorporate into the kit and give us ideas for the decorations, games, and party accessories included. So, in honor of Shakespeare’s birthday, we’re sharing a few of the posts that helped us make sure our stories weren’t bogus.


Image Credit: THINKSTOCK/ERIN MCCARTHY via Mental_Floss

1.) “To Be or Not to Be?”

Our cupcake toppers feature a play on this extremely well-known quote from Hamlet, which continues, “that is the question—/Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer/The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,/ Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles…” It turns out that line was once something else entirely. According to Bad Quartos: What Shakespeare Could’ve Been, the line appeared as “To be or not to be. Aye, there’s the point. To die, to sleep—is that all? Aye, all.” in an edition that was available between 1603 and 1604. The cause of this lesser known soliloquy? Piracy! Bootlegged copies of Shakespeare’s plays made their way into bookstores after shady playgoers copied down what they could remember and then printed their knockoff versions.

2.) “Sweets to the Sweet”

This one comes from Hamlet as well, but how could we resist using this perfect quote on our treat bag? We learned from 7 Geeky-Cool Translations of Hamlet that Hamlet has been translated into hundreds of languages. It’s no surprise that such a famous play has been so widely translated, but we were surprised (and oh so pleased) to see it translated into Klingon, Emoji, and even a Lego animation.

3.) “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”

Our Pin the Soap on Lady Macbeth game is definitely less gruesome than The Scottish Play, but fans of the tragedy will recall that that murder and mayhem run rampant through the Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is riddled with guilt and attempts to scrub clean a blood stain that isn’t actually there. This is pretty dark stuff, but there is a bright side. The article Out, Damned Spot! explains the Macbeth effect , “a psychological phenomena where cleanliness lessens guilty feelings.”

Macbeth | UncommonGoods

4.) Titania and Oberon

Titania and Oberon are perhaps best known as the King and Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the comedy featured in our “playbill” guest book. Although this list of 12 Distant Places in the Solar System (And What They’re Named After) isn’t specifically about famous fictional couple, it does feature their celestial namesakes. Titania and Oberon are also moons of Uranus. Not only are all of Uranus’ moons traditionally named for characters created by Shakespeare or Alexander Pope, their geographical features are also named for people and places in Shakespeare’s work.

5.) Who Will Be Named King?

The crown we chose for our party hats was based on King Lear, and while a specific Mental_Floss post didn’t point us to the design, we were happy to learn from 13 Titles Inspired by Shakespeare Phrases that a line from the play indirectly influenced the title of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Other authors who looked to Shakepeare to help title their work include David Foster Wallace, Ray Bradbury, and Mental_Floss host John Green.

Baxter as King Lear | UncommonGoodsBaxter as King Lear

Print the Kit | UncommonGoods

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