“I plan to read all your Shakespeares over Christmas. Started Macbeth yesterday and I really like it! Makes it so much easier to understand.”
Beany Hames, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar
Shakespeare – universally acclaimed as the greatest playwright of all time. Yet few modern readers find his works easy going or have time for the half-dozen performances it takes to fully grasp the magic of these wonderful works. Indeed, Shakespeare may well be on his way to becoming the Greatest Writer Never Read.
Hence Shakespeare – The Novels – a brand new series of novelisations of some of the world’s greatest plays, that you can enjoy wherever and whenever you want.
the whole play. every word. in a novel
The way the novels work is very simple. They include literally every spoken word from the original plays (and without a single word of speech being added), in Shakespeare’s own language. They also follow every stage direction. That’s more than you will usually get even at a professional stage production.
It also makes them quite different from the many other novelisations of these plays, which are often translated into ‘modern’ language. This is particularly unnecessary, as the problem isn’t usually Shakespeare’s words. It’s true that his dialogue is often very complicated, with cross-cutting conversations, obsolete language, obscure jokes, unfamiliar historical references and much else. In a single paragraph a player might speak to three different people, but it isn’t clear who. But all these problems can be solved by surrounding the dialogue with the mechanics you routinely find in a novel.
It’s a simple recipe – take Shakespeare’s words and directions, show how the dialogue works (at a slightly more sophisticated level than ‘he said – she said’!), then add background, a little psychology, a little vocabulary, a little structure to clarify how the plot is unfolding, and the great soliloquies, quick-fire exchanges and dramatic twists and turns flow off the page with unprecedented clarity, readability and charm.
So, whether you are a newcomer to Shakespeare, a long-standing devotee, a student of English or just curious to see what all the fuss has been about for the last four hundred years, download a copy and see for yourself!é
who will enjoy these novels?
These novels are aimed at a variety of audiences:
- People who love Shakespeare and would like to be able to read the plays in a more accessible form. (Shakespeare’s plays are pretty unreadable straight off the page.)
- People who hate Shakespeare but somehow feel that they might like him better if only his plays were available in a form that was a bit more digestible.
- Students of Shakespeare – or just English in general – who would like to be able to study the plays in greater detail.
- People who just love a good read – and there are few better reads than Shakespeare!
At present the books are only available in electronic form. This hugely simplifies the publishing process, but as these publications evolve I will think about printed editions. If that’s what you’d like to see, just drop a line to RJ.Robinson at ShakespeareTheNovels.co.uk.é