Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bard Wars

I'd like to direct everyone's attention to this book. For those of you who don't feel like following the link, it leads to an Amazon page a book. This book claims to be Star Wars Episode IV as if it had been written by William Shakespeare. While it is admittedly an incredibly entertaining idea, I think it also says a tremendous amount about the cultural space that Shakespeare occupies. No one would even consider trying to sell Star Wars done in the style of Hemingway, Virgil, Milton, or any other famous writer, yet there is an undeniable charm to William Shakespeare's Star Wars.

I think that some of this charm is simply the bizarre nature of it; it strikes me as somewhat similar to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in that it smashes together something conspicuously contemporary and something stereotypical of the erudite and cultured. However, there is an important distinction to make here. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ostensibly takes the plot and style of the original work, and simple adds one modern element (zombies) to the mix. In other words, it is adapting one specific work in a very obvious manner. William Shakespeare's Star Wars, on the other hand, only attempts to borrow the style and language of Shakespeare; the plot and characters are from Star Wars. This seems to me to be proof that Shakespeare is revered in a very different way from most famous writers, such that his significance is more than the sum of each individual work.

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