The power of the pen can be as mighty as a host of lances in the hands of a great poet. One speech in one historical battle has lived on for six centuries, wrapped in myth and inspiration, mainly due to William Shakespeare.
A legendary event during the Middle Ages was the Battle of Agincourt, when the badly outnumbered English army faced the aristocratic armored knights and foot soldiers of the French Army. The English King, Henry V, led his motley group to a fabled victory, destroying the French. The victory was of great significance to British history and to literature.
Shakespeare’s influence can be seen everywhere…but that doesn’t mean that he is easy to understand or enjoy. Whether you already enjoy Shakespeare or have had problems with Shakespeare’s plays, why not check out a graphic novel? A frozen play, if you will.
Gareth Hinds has illustrated and adapted a number of
Shakespeare’s plays. I picked up several of them without knowing he was the creator of so many Shakespearean
graphic novels, and I started with The Merchant of Venice. As a play I had never read or watched before, I would say this was the perfect introduction. He sets the style in modern Venice, giving it a newer feel. It’s a comedy and while the ending may be predictable, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable read. The other novel by Hinds I read was The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The classic tale that many are already familiar with but using multiracial characters. The artwork is beautiful and colorful, and Hinds stays close to the original text. Continue reading “FIRST FOLIO! Shakespeare in Graphic Novels”
Should the life of a book require a biography, just like a person might merit a life story? The first omnibus of Shakespeare plays, popularly known as the First Folio, significantly changed the English language and our understanding of being human, and so a biography of this work seems warranted. In The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, Oxford professor Emma Smith describes the story of how and why the First Folio came to be, conceived and printed in the complicated social and political context of Jacobean England.
Although Shakespeare was beginning to seem a bit quaint by the 1620s, some publishers met a demand for his past favorites by issuing individual plays as quartos (aptly named after their size), the equivalent of modern-day paperbacks. Then, two of Shakespeare’s colleagues, John Heminge and Henry Condell, decided the time was right to collect and publish the works of the Bard in a one comprehensive and elegant edition, a decision that culminated in the First Folio, published seven years after the death of the playwright. Similar to the quarto, the folio is also named as such in reference to its size. This First Folio collection was the second book of plays in this period to be published for an upmarket crowd, coming after Ben Jonson’s Works. Continue reading “FIRST FOLIO! The Making of the First Folio”