Now, some of you will think that Shakespeare doesn't need buffing up, that his words are perfectly fine the way they are. They've lasted this long, you say, so why mess with them? (Classics Comics retellings notwithstanding.) And some of you might think it a travesty to turn the plays into novels. But to you, the Hogarth Press says, prithee, good reader, give us but a chance.
The press (established by Virginia Woolf, and now an imprint of Random House) announced yesterday a plan to commission notable writers to retell Shakespeare for the modern reader.
First up: Anne Tyler--hard to argue with that choice--who will take on "The Taming of the Shrew." Said Tyler, in a press release, "I don't know which I'm looking forward to more: delving into the mysteries of shrewish Kate or finding out what all the other writers do with their Shakespeare characters."
British writer Jeanette Winterson will retell "The Winter's Tale." Said Winterson, in the very same press release, "I have worked with 'The Winter's Tale' in many disguises for many years. This is a brilliant opportunity to work with it in its own right. And I love cover versions."
The project begins in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.