Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Hogarth Shakespeare Travesty

Frankly, I don't even know how to react. I'm not a literary snob by any means: pulp fiction is as relevant to me as comic books or shakespeare himself. However, like certain musical icons (e.g. The Beatles), I believe there are writers whose work should never be "adapted." For that reason, I lionize J.D. Salinger: the seminal book of my teen years has never been made into a movie or revised or even spoken much about by the author. As much as I like Salinger, though, shakespeare ranks higher in my order of authors whose work should remain unsullied (even if Bacon DID write some of it as has been claimed).
so it is that when adaptations like West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate, O, and Forbidden Planet are set forth for public consumption, I shudder. of course, there have been serious attempts to recreate Shakespeare's work: Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet comes to mind, but I don't mind those since they at least attempt to stay as true to the original as possible. Now, however, we are embarking upon a new age of reinvention.
Two authors, Jeanette Winterson and Pultizer Prize-winning Anne Tyler have been commissioned to write modern adaptations of The Winter's Tale and Taming of the Shrew for release in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of The Bard's death in a project entitled The Hogarth Shakespeare Project. The idea is to make these works appealing to a modern audience by staying "true to the spirit of the original dramas and their popular appeal" while adding modern-day touches.
I must protest.
Some works are sacrosanct, and I believe these are good examples.
Maybe in three years, everyone will forget about this idea.
But I doubt it.
I also will not read either of them.
Wherefore art thou, William (or Francis)?


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