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Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold: Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist

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An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare's sonnets, ye An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare's sonnets, yet he often found their abstract language frustratingly unintelligible. One day, out of curiosity, he rewrote Sonnet 18--Shall I compare thee to a summer's day--line-by-line, in the strict five-beat iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of the original, but in a contemporary language a modern reader could easily understand. The meaning and sentiment--difficult to spot, initially--came to life, revealing new intricacies in the workings of Shakespeare's heart. And so, James embarked on a full-time, year-long project to rewrite all 154 of the Bard's eternal verses creating SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS, RETOLD. This collection of masterful reinterpretations brilliantly demystifies and breathes new life into Shakespeare's work, demonstrating the continued resonance of a playwright whose popularity remains over 400 years after his death. Now, the passion, heartbreak, deception, reconciliation, and mortality of Shakespeare's originals can be understood by all, without the need to cross reference to an enjoyment-sapping study-guide. Coming with a foreword by Stephen Fry, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems made new.


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An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare's sonnets, ye An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare's sonnets, yet he often found their abstract language frustratingly unintelligible. One day, out of curiosity, he rewrote Sonnet 18--Shall I compare thee to a summer's day--line-by-line, in the strict five-beat iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of the original, but in a contemporary language a modern reader could easily understand. The meaning and sentiment--difficult to spot, initially--came to life, revealing new intricacies in the workings of Shakespeare's heart. And so, James embarked on a full-time, year-long project to rewrite all 154 of the Bard's eternal verses creating SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS, RETOLD. This collection of masterful reinterpretations brilliantly demystifies and breathes new life into Shakespeare's work, demonstrating the continued resonance of a playwright whose popularity remains over 400 years after his death. Now, the passion, heartbreak, deception, reconciliation, and mortality of Shakespeare's originals can be understood by all, without the need to cross reference to an enjoyment-sapping study-guide. Coming with a foreword by Stephen Fry, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems made new.

44 review for Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold: Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold is a book that I wished for in high school. Three and a half decades later I think I will take the originals and work through the generations of English language evolution. Rarely is the remake of anything as good as the original, There might be moments of brilliance, and there may be a revival of the original, but a copy remains a copy. Personal opinions aside, Anthony's side by side arrangement makes for an easy understanding of the original with a new "translatio Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold is a book that I wished for in high school. Three and a half decades later I think I will take the originals and work through the generations of English language evolution. Rarely is the remake of anything as good as the original, There might be moments of brilliance, and there may be a revival of the original, but a copy remains a copy. Personal opinions aside, Anthony's side by side arrangement makes for an easy understanding of the original with a new "translation." The difference is not in meaning but delivery. It is like the difference between a classic ballad and a pop song or rap lyric. There is a rough edge that is now very visible that was hidden by the original language. Anthony also does an outstanding job at keeping the sonnet's form intact in his rewrites which would seem to be a challenging task in itself. It is easy to see how many will like the new versions over the old, but for me, I will stick with the original. Star rating based on effort

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cristin Grenier

    I am an avid fan of Shakespeare and this book is fabulous!! I believe it should be sold as a companion to the sonnets for every student out there. I feel it really gets to the heart of who Shakespeare really was. He was a romantic, but could also be dark and had a wicked sense of humor. I will definitely be purchasing this in hard copy. Thanks for the advanced copy FTR

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    Retelling Shakespeare's Sonnets is a ridiculously admirable endeavor. James Anthony has made a true splash by retelling our beloved Shakespeare's sonnets. Students and those interested in understanding Shakespeare better now have an excellent guide to do so with Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold. The side-by-side comparison makes it easy to understand line after line. The retellings are not haughty or too watered down, making them perfectly apt for readers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Svendsen

    This was a lovely side by side comparison of Shakespeare’s sonnets to a modern version of each sonnet. Sometimes I did not quite agree with the authors interpretation, but on the whole found the read enjoyable and enlightening. I can definitely see this book as being a useful tool for teaching Shakespeare and poetry and will probably myself refer to it again the the future.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tabby Shiflett

    A fun coffee table book that you can pick up and read in multiple segments or all in one go. Great for students and Shakespeare aficionados. Penguin First to Read Galley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suziey

    *Thank you First to Read for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.* This book does what it sets out to do. The poems are all in modern-day language making them easy to understand. Now, I thought Shakespeare's poems were supposed to be lovey-dovey. But they're not. Actually, the first twenty poems or so (maybe more, I lost count) are about procreation. Spreading your seed. Having kids. It caught me off-guard. They just went on and on about having k *Thank you First to Read for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.* This book does what it sets out to do. The poems are all in modern-day language making them easy to understand. Now, I thought Shakespeare's poems were supposed to be lovey-dovey. But they're not. Actually, the first twenty poems or so (maybe more, I lost count) are about procreation. Spreading your seed. Having kids. It caught me off-guard. They just went on and on about having kids that will be your mini-me's. It was way too much. But after all the procreation poems, there were a few that I actually enjoyed. The language itself was also a bit weird. Yes, it's modern. But at times it was a little too modern. Maybe I'm just being a bit nit-picky. I did like the way the book was structured though. On one side you have the original poem, as written by Shakespeare. On the next page, you have the new, updated poem by James Anthony. Made it easy to compare the two.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Anchinges

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erika J

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Sanford

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  15. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Boudreaux

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Ismaa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tati Dengo

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anatha

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ke

  21. 4 out of 5

    Az

  22. 5 out of 5

    hr

  23. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Elizabeth

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia (Shakespeare and Such)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carissa

  27. 4 out of 5

    shannon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keely

  30. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

  31. 4 out of 5

    lymeiree

  32. 4 out of 5

    Bay

  33. 4 out of 5

    Taike DW

  34. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Lee

  35. 5 out of 5

    Neverdust

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Schmidt

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  38. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  39. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  40. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  41. 4 out of 5

    Catt Cropper

  42. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

  43. 4 out of 5

    Allie

  44. 4 out of 5

    Brynn

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