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Tag: Shakespeare (1-9 of 9)

Gillian Flynn to write updated version of 'Hamlet'

Who’s there? Why, it’s Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn with a new version of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Flynn will write a novel based on Hamlet for Hogarth Shakespeare, as part of an international publishing initiative across the Penguin Random House Group that presents retellings of The Bard’s tales by some of today’s best-known writers.

Hamlet has long been a fascination of mine: murder, betrayal, revenge, deceit, madness — all my favorite things,” Flynn said in a press release. “Add to that some of Shakespeare’s most intriguing, curious characters — from the titular brooding prince to rueful Ophelia — and what (slightly cheeky) writer wouldn’t be tempted to reimagine it?” READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Claudia Rankine wins poetry prize; the trials of building Noah's Ark and Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Jamaican poet Claudia Rankine won the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize this year, which comes with a sweet award of $50,000. Rankine has published four books of poetry; her last was 2004’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She told The New York Times that she plans to publish a follow-up in October called Citizen. “Both books reside in the realm where one’s attempts to negotiate a day are complicated by racial interactions,” Ms. Rankine said. “Where ‘Lonely’ looked at the role of media in our private lives, ‘Citizen’ attempts to understand how black people, like tennis star Serena Williams, negotiate racism on a public stage.” Rankine was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets last year and currently teaches at Pomona College. [New York Times]

The Financial Times ran a story (on their salmon pink website to match their salmon pink paper) about the battle for Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theater. The Bard had a little known nemesis, the maniacal Lady Elizabeth Russell, who lived next door to his playhouse. She was your typical belligerent neighbor who’s always snooping in your business. To take her down a notch, “the playwright had lampooned members of the Dowager’s coterie in Henry IV, Part 1,” and he skewered her husband as a drunk buffoonso Russell was out for payback. She turned many of Shakespeare’s friends against him and pushed through a petition to have the Globe shuttered, but the story ends with an ironic twist – classic Will! – so you have to finish the article to get the joke of the whole thing. [Financial Times]

 

On The Books: Original text of Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- for FREE!

You can still read the original text of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo-epic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as it appeared in Rolling Stone in November 1971. I wish that I could say they had the layout intact, so you could see the original Ralph Steadman drawings and dated adverts, but alas that’s not the case. The whole rambling, drug-addled, calculated chaos of a manuscript clocks in at 23,000 words. Thompson would famously keep Jann Wenner waiting for articles until the absolute last second. HST described his version of the manic push to the finish line in the intro to Rolling Stone‘s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” (another classic):

“One afternoon about three days ago the Editorial Enforcement Detail from the Rolling Stone office showed up at my door, with no warning, and loaded about 40 pounds of supplies into the room: two cases of Mexican beer, four quarts of gin, a dozen grapefruits, and enough speed to alter the outcome of six Super Bowls. There was also a big Selectric typewriter, two reams of paper, a face-cord of oak firewood and three tape recorders – in case the situation got so desperate that I might finally have to resort to verbal composition.”

[Rolling Stone via Open Culture]

Vijay Seshadri won the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection 3 Sections yesterday and he answered a few questions about the meaning of his poems and his motivations for writing them. His short poems manage to be both tongue-in-cheek and poignant, so bear that in mind when he says poetry is “psychologically naked.” [NPR]

On the 25th anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Vanity Fair interviewed the author, his British and American publishers and a number of his peers including Stephen King, Ian McEwan, Gay Talese and Martin Amis about their memories of the time and the deadly edict’s effect on the literary community. Amis recounts a time that he supposedly got into an argument with Prince Charles at a dinner party (where else?). The Prince refused to publicly defend Rushdie who was a U.K. resident at the time. [Vanity Fair via The Guardian]

Don’t you love a good Shakespeare conspiracy theory? Well this morning, it’s whether Prospero, the exiled wizard in The Tempest, might actually be Shakespeare writing himself into the character. WHAT?? If you’re confused, this article will clear very little up for you. But it certainly is interesting to hear all the things we actually “know” about Shakespeare — “all the things” being only six things. One of the six is that in his will he left his wife Anne his second best bed. So he was a generous man. [Guardian]

For those celebrating Passover this week, The New Yorker has a thought little personal essay by Bernard Avishai on the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai and keeping a open heart during the holiday. [The New Yorker]

On the Books: Elizabeth Vargas is penning a memoir

News anchor Elizabeth Vargas has announced that she is penning a memoir about her struggle with anxiety and alcoholism. The untitled project will be released by Grand Central Publishing in Spring 2016. Grand Central said that the 20/20 anchor’s memoir will be “a no-holds-barred account of growing up with crippling anxiety and of turning to alcohol for relief.  She’ll divulge how she found herself living a dark double life and will share personal stories of her despair, her time in rehab, and, ultimately, her recovery process.” Vargas found solace in reading stories by other women who had battled alcoholism and she feels like it’s her turn to share. “I have spent my entire life telling other peoples’ stories,” she said. “This one is my own, and is incredibly personal: the burden and the loneliness of the secret drinker.  If just one other person can relate to it, it will make my own story worth writing, and I will have paid the gift forward.” READ FULL STORY

On the Books: World's largest Shakespeare collection to go online; Whiting Writers' Awards winners announced

Shakespeare is being digitized, self-published erotica is more scandalous than previously thought, and Charles Darwin once let his son draw on his manuscripts. Read on for more of today’s top headlines: READ FULL STORY

Watch the book trailer for 'William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope' -- EXCLUSIVE

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“In time so long ago begins our play/ In star-crossed galaxy far, far away.”

This isn’t your parents’ Star Wars. It’s more like your ancestors from the Old World’s Star Wars. Author Ian Doescher reinterprets the classic space opera into a classical play written in the majestic style of the Bard of Avon. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope takes all of the characters you know and love and has them speaking in asides, soliloquies, and poetic verses. Even Chewie and Artoo roar and beep in iambic pentameter. For an exclusive look at what’s in store, check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Read an excerpt from 'William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope' -- EXCLUSIVE

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“Darth Vader, only thou couldst be so bold.”

Carrie Fisher may inexplicably have a bit of a British accent during the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, but this latest genre mash-up puts the epic space opera in the hands of the Bard himself. Debut author Ian Doescher blends protocol droids with iambic pentameter in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.

Tapping into the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars follows the basic structure of the original Star Wars film but molds it according to the style of a Shakespearean play. Lord Vader still seizes the spaceship of Princess Leia of Alderaan in search of the Rebellion’s plans against the Galactic Empire. C-3PO still cries and complains about everything. R2-D2 still beeps and buzzes — but this time in flowing verse.

So if you’re a fan of Stormtroopers and/or soliloquies, check out Act I, scenes 1-4 of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars below: READ FULL STORY

Alan Cumming plays all the roles in 'Macbeth' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Actor Alan Cumming can play a huge array of characters, from an evil Russian computer programmer to a blue, be-tailed mutant to Eli Gold, the venal public relations guru from The Good Wife. Cumming is putting that versatility to the test by starring in a one-man version of Shakespeare’s MacBeth for a limited engagement run at Lincoln Center. This latest reimagining casts Cumming as the only patient in a psych ward, where he is inhabited by the different characters from the classic tragedy. For those of us who can’t attend the show in person, Simon & Schuster Audio has recorded an audiobook version (out July 3) that captures the intensity of Cumming’s performance. Check out an interview with Cumming and an exclusive audio excerpt below! READ FULL STORY

Modernizing Shakespeare

strange-brew-shakespeare_lIf William Shakespeare were around today it’s unclear whether he’d have made it as a playwright. My guess is that he’d probably be credited as “Will Shakes,” and would be penning Off-Off-Broadway plays about the Iraq War and submitting spec scripts to Mad Men. So it’s lucky for us that he lived when he lived.

But that doesn’t stop filmmakers from bringing his work into the present day. The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Gerard Butler will be joining Ralph Fiennes in a contemporary adaptation of one of the lesser-produced Shakespearean tragedies, Coriolanus.

This isn’t the first time Shakespeare’s works have gotten a modern makeover. In fact it’s more like the 12,486th. So let’s take this opportunity to look back at the slew of attempts to bring the Bard up to date:

There is, of course, Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo & Juliet featuring the PYTs of the MTV generation: Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. It’s a good thing this was made in 1996 before cell phones were so ubiquitous. READ FULL STORY

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