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    First of all, look at this

    Now discuss. Good or bad, when you’re not reading the whole thing, but a cut-down version that gives you a taste of the way Shakespeare writes and a handle on the plot?

    I personally think it’s the coolest thing ever (although that might just be because Benedick is cute).

    Also, what do you think of the ‘re-written’ classics for the youngsters? I saw one of Pride and Prejudice, and, frankly, it sucked, but if it gets the kids into reading the real thing, well, I’m all for it.


    I think it is good because it could spark an interest into reading the original and unabridged work, and bad because someone who read the abridged version might “cross it off their list” and not pick up the real thing.


    There is that aspect to consider.


    I personally find the manga Shakespeare things to be very amusing. I sort of prefer the original scripts though. I mean, the pictures are nice and everything, but it’s just not the real thing.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010

    Meh. I glanced over one of those. The wordplays that are Shakespeare’s hallmarks are mostly missing. That’s pretty sad.

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010

    On the one hand, that does make them more accessible to the reader.

    On the other, if you just want a story then the classics have been copied into modern versions countless times. Read one of those.

    Classics are the story and the prose. :/


    The wordplays that are Shakespeare’s hallmarks are mostly missing. That’s pretty sad.

    Exactly. Little things like that get lost, and then the whole thing gets butchered.

    Ugh. I read the most awful Christian romance novel that was based off Pride and Prejudice. It was awful and horrifying and induced much head-banging. So I have to tell you about it.

    Dave, (Mr. Darcy) a cattle rancher, meets Eddi, (Elizabeth) a lawyer, when they both try out for the Pride and Prejudice play at the local theater! Dave goes down to his basement ALL THE TIME, even when guests are over, so Eddi judges him and thinks he's an alcoholic. Meanwhile, the equivalent of Mrs. Bennett is throwing cherry tomatoes at her husband, and Mr. Bennett-equivalent is saying, "Alas, why did I marry this woman?" and Lydia-equivalent is being slutty. So then Dave saves Lydia-equivalent from some awful man and Eddi discovers that in Dave's mysterious basement is a computer where he sends money to a Juvenile Delinquent Center! All is well and Eddi falls into Dave's arm and they get married.

    That just should not be done. Those Shakespeare mangas do look kind of awesome, though.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010 edited

    Why is King Lear Native American?

    edit- And seashell nipple-covers on cordelia?

    edit edit- And the British are evil?

    I just had a stroke.

    Maybe if they kept the original Shakespeare’s language and added manga visuals…but the only reason I enjoyed Romeo and Juliet (which is the only Shakespeare I have read thus far) is the language.

    That being said, I used to love the ‘Great Illustrated Classics’ series- which is abridged classics for youngsters. It’s how I got into Pride and Prejudice.

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010

    Meh. I glanced over one of those. The wordplays that are Shakespeare’s hallmarks are mostly missing. That’s pretty sad.

    I prefer comprehensible prose to archaic wordplay.

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010

    Well, I appreciate the spirit behind it (i.e. trying to get kids to read Shakespeare), but I have a few issues.

    Issues like:
    -why is Hamlet now set in a quasi-futureistic setting, rather than in the standard medieval time period?


    -why are the characters in Merchant of Venice now pointy-eared elf-people who ride around on dragons?

    Do these add anything to the story?


    Maybe they’re going with fads? Are Romeo and Juliet vampires or anything?

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010

    No, oddly enough. Apparently, this version is set in modern day Tokyo, and the rival families are members of the Yakuza. So, if nothing else, there is a distince chance that someone’s going to get a finger cut off.

    Basically, its that Romeo + Juliet movie, only in Japan.


    But if I remember correctly, in Romeo + Juliet, they kept Shakespeare’s original words, just transplanted the setting.

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010


    My first reaction was “EW NO BURN THESE ABOMINATIONS READ THE ORIGINALS OR READ NOTHING AT ALL YOU COWS”, but after thinking about it (and realizing that I, like SWQ, got into reading the originals anyway because I liked the Great Illustrated Classics versions, which were awesome because they had a picture on every. single. page. Also, the Wishbone books! I read like fifty of those! Beowulf is one of my favorite pieces of writing of all time, and the Wishbone version is actually what convinced me to read it in the first place…), I’ve changed my mind. I suppose adaptions of classics for “the masses” (or at least teenagers) is OK, but I do think a certain amount of respect needs to be had for the original. It can’t just be “Here is a boring old classic, how can we make it Fun and Exciting and Accessible to Teenagers?” It has to be “Here’s a really great book that unfortunately a lot of people aren’t going to read all of. How can we make it more accessible without losing its heart?”

    So those manga versions look… very meh to me. If they were billed as “new interpretations of” or “based (loosely) on” Shakespeare’s works, I’d be fine with it. But trying to say that these new versions are the same thing as the originals… that just seems wrong, as they look like they’ve not only updated and cut down the language, but completely changed the story, except for the bare bones. I mean, if they want to do a star-crossed lovers story set in modern-day Tokyo, that actually sounds pretty awesome. But you can’t go around calling it “Romeo and Juliet” if the story, setting, and characters are changed (the one exception is if you keep the exact wording of the original. In other words, I think Romeo + Juliet can be called a faithful adaption of the original material). It’s “based on” or “inspired by” Romeo and Juliet, but it’s not the same story. If you want a modern-day star-crossed lovers story, go watch West Side Story or something…


    No matter how bad it looks, at least it’ll be more faithful than that Romeo X Juliet anime.

    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010 edited

    Yep, Romeo + Juliet was faithful to the entire script, and I thought it was actually quite clever how thay made it apply to a modern setting. I remember lolling when “dagger” and “sword” were used to refer to guns. Also, crossdressing black Mercutio. That was about the only high point for me.


    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2010

    I don’t know about these mangas, but there are plenty of good modern adaptations of classics. Of course, I mayjust be saying this because I recently saw Apocalypse Now for the first time. Quality is the only difference between an adaptation and a bastardization.


    Meh. I glanced over one of those. The wordplays that are Shakespeare’s hallmarks are mostly missing. That’s pretty sad.

    Much Ado About Nothing had a couple of them.

    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010

    Twelfth Night looked pretty decent from what samples they provided.

    I see nothing wrong with adapting the classics to make them more acceptable, but bastardization is the all-too-common result of such attempts. ;.;