Forked Tongues, Forked Roads: a tribute to Shakespeare and Cervantes

April 8, 2014
Dr. Beatriz Botero

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s English and Spanish programs will celebrate the contributions of English poet William Shakespeare and Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra at the two-day, “1616 Forked Tongues, Forked Roads” language event on Tuesday, April 22, in the University Rooms at Markee Pioneer Student Center and on Wednesday, April 23, in Ullsvik Hall.

The year 1616 is significant for world literature, as Cervantes and Shakespeare, regarded as the most important literary figures of the Spanish and English languages, died on the 22 and 23 of April. Some of the plays Shakespeare wrote include “Romeo and Juliet,” “Othello,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “The Taming of the Shrew.” Cervantes wrote numerous plays and farces and the novel “Don Quixote,” which is considered the first modern European novel and is a classic of Western literature.

“The coincidence of the passing of these two influential historical figures nearly on the same day is an excellent opportunity for university students and staff as well as community members to have a conversation about these great authors who have come to symbolize their languages,” said Dr. Beatriz Botero, Spanish professor at UW-Platteville. “It gives people a chance to talk about the historical time in which these authors lived and discuss what they represented to the English and Spanish worlds.”

At 10 a.m. on April 22, there will be a roundtable of UW-Platteville professors from all disciplines who will hold a discussion and debate about the role Cervantes and Shakespeare have played in changing western history and expanding and enriching human consciousness through language. At 11 a.m., a luncheon will be served. From noon until 2 p.m., there will be a session that explores 1616 and Cervantes through posters made by students in Botero’s Spanish classes. At 2 p.m., there will be a colloquium with professors from UW-Platteville’s Spanish and English programs, who will talk about the two famous writers.

On April 23, the students will display their posters at UW-Platteville’s Undergraduate Research for Creative Endeavors Symposium, being held in Ullsvik Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The symposium, held each spring, is a forum for students to present their research findings as well as a celebration of the diversity of research that takes place at UW-Platteville. UW-Platteville’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors sponsors the symposium.

To prepare for the symposium, Botero’s students completed research on the chosen authors, learned the vocabulary related to the author’s literature and poetry, then created their posters. Students will explain the ideas presented on their posters to those who attend the event, and will answer questions in English or Spanish.

The “1616 Forked Tongues, Forked Roads” language event and the URCE Symposium are free of charge and open to everyone.

Contact: Dr. Beatriz Botero, department of humanities, (608) 342-1907,

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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