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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your attention

Spark Publishing in the USA have translated nineteen Shakespeare plays into modern language. The series is published under the No Fear imprint.

Carlin Romano over at the Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at some of the texts and illustrates why the task fails miserably and how it should never have been undertaken.

I’ll confine myself here to a famous soliloquy in Hamlet. You’ll remember

To be, or not to be: that is the question

No Fear‘s reader-friendly version, in an inspired translation comes up with this:

The question is: is it better to be alive or dead?

Rage away . . .

2 Responses to “Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your attention”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    It can work. I’ve seen ‘Hail Caesar’ – a modern language adaptation of ‘Julius Caesar’ which I think the BBC did – twice and it was quite enjoyable.

    jb says: But y o y o y

  2. Dick says:

    But what the fuck is the point? Let’s stick arms on the Venus de Milo or organise a hip hop version of the St Matthew Passion! Time to send the boys round, I think, John…

    jb says: I haven’t actually been involved in a rumble for a while, Dick, and don’t know how useful I’ll be. But I’m happy to tag along and if the opportunity arises where I can get a boot in without the necessity for lightening speed, I think I’ll not be found wanting . . .