Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare? You probably heard about the controversy in high school English class and promptly forgot all about it. There’s a movie coming out next Friday, however, that will serve to remind you. It imagines that someone other than Shakespeare was the bard behind the verse, and it looks pretty good. No, really! Watch the trailer. See? Exciting.

If you’d like to beef up your Shakespeare cred before seeing the movie, never fear. We’ve got plenty of biographies of the bard.
If you’d like a quick overview I’d suggest Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare: The World as Stage. (You can read my review of it here.) At just 199 pages, and most definitely NOT in iambic pentameter, it shouldn’t give you flashbacks to being forced to read Romeo and Juliet.

But if you do get a hankering for some Elizabethan wordplay, we’ve got that too! Check out something from the playwright. We’ve got the comedies, the tragedies, and the sonnets. We’ve even got several of them in graphic novel format. Click here to browse the selection.

If you’re over the standard fare, we’ve still got some options for you. There have been at least a couple of books published over the past year that take Shakespeare in a different direction.

Chris Adrian’s The Great Night is a reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Titania and Oberon having set up camp at the top of a hill in San Francisco.

Then there’s The Tragedy of Arthur: A Novel by Arthur Phillips, which tells the tale of a man who discovers a lost play of Shakespeare. The impressive part is that the lost play is tacked on to the end of the book. That means you can read a modern day approximation of Shakespeare to see how it compares.

Let us know what your favorite work of Shakespearean literature is in comments! (We’ll also accept Shakespearean-themed suggestions.)

Review by Danny Hanbery

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