Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shakespeare retold: Margaret Atwood and Howard Jacobson join new series by Liz Bury

Acclaimed novelists Margaret Atwood and Howard Jacobson are to write prose retellings of Shakespeare's plays as part of a series also including interpretations by Anne Tyler and Jeanette Winterson, but so far no author has taken up the challenge of rewriting one of the bard's tragedies.
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."

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