Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shakespeare to Be Retold By Famous Authors

Margaret Atwood retelling The Tempest? Howard Jacobson The Merchant of Venice?

From a piece in the Guardian...

Award-winning novelist and critic Jacobson has chosen The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays, which can be read as antisemitic. "For an English novelist, Shakespeare is where it all begins. For an English novelist who also happens to be Jewish, The Merchant of Venice is where it all snarls up," Jacobson said.

"Only a fool would think he has anything to add to Shakespeare. But Shakespeare probably never met a Jew; the Holocaust had not yet happened, and antisemitism didn't have a name. Can one tell the same story today, when every reference carries a different charge? There's the challenge. I quake before it."

Canadian novelist and critic Atwood, whose latest book, MaddAddam, explores gene-splicing between humans and animals, opted for The Tempest. "It has always been a favourite of mine, and working on it will be an invigorating challenge. Is Caliban the first talking monster? Not quite, but close …" she said.

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