Anne Tyler and Jeanette Winterson are the first two authors in a new series of “cover versions” of Shakespeare’s plays.
Following the current trend for modern retellings of classic stories – Val McDermid, Joanna Trollope and Curtis Sittenfeld are all currently writing reworkings of Jane Austen – the Shakespeare project will launch in 2016, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
Publisher Random House hopes it will bring Shakespeare “alive for a contemporary readership”, and plans to kick off the programme with prose “retellings” of The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s late play of jealousy and forgiveness, from Whitbread award-winner Winterson, and The Taming of the Shrew from the Pulitzer-winning American novelist Anne Tyler.
Shakespeare was himself an inveterate re-teller of other’s tales; and there have certainly been terrific adaptations of his work (e.g., Throne of Blood, Ten Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man). Still, it’s hard not to hear this as, well… bard news.
In any case, read the full story at “Shakespeare’s canon to be reworked by authors including Jeanette Winterson and Anne Tyler.”
As we express our concern to what’s left of Yorick, we might send fabulous birthday greeting to Jean de La Fontaine; he was born on this date in 1621. One of the most widely-read French poets of the 17th century, Flaubert pronounced him “the only French poet to understand and master the texture of the French language before Hugo.” But La Fontaine is probably most widely remembered for his Fables (Fables Choisies Mise en Vers)– a collection of folk tales, stories from Classical mythology, and (over 240) poems– published in 12 volumes over the last 25 years of his life.