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All the World's a Grave by John Reed
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All the World's a Grave

by John Reed

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595200,849 (3.14)4
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Showing 5 of 5
The first time I have ever aborted a play. Usually I plunge on through no matter how boring, trite, or even revolting they might be, but this was the length of a full length book, and it had failed to capture my attention by Scene 5, and I couldn't face finishing it. Life's just too short to read bad books. It wasn't that it was bad...after all, it was using Shakespeare's own words...but it does show how trite and banal those words can be when put together in a different order and set in a different context. Mixing the characters might seem amusing, with King Lear's daughter, Juliet, marrying Romeo, who had just defeated Lear and won back Acquataine might seem interesting (it was interesting enough for me to buy the play), but it fell totally flat. Whether that is my own jaded worldview on re-writes of Shakespeare (frankly, if you really want to do that, why? Just write your own play, and ignore the bard if you think he's out of date or boring), or whether it is an author who failed to pull off what he was attempting to do, I have no idea. All I know is it really wasn't worth spending my time on. ( )
  Devil_llama | Aug 6, 2016 |
I truly enjoyed this Shakespeare mash-up (a "new play by Shakespeare"). The afterword from the author was especially thought provoking (Down with the Canon!, Reed argues). The way Reed fit pieces of the original plots together was fascinating and resourceful (for example, Hamlet's love interest is Juliet, whose father is Lear, etc.). At times it was clearly overkill, packing so many great leading characters into one play, but it was always very interesting.

But best of all, his lightly edited/updated treatment of Shakespeare's language brought the work to life for me in a way I haven't enjoyed much since school, when I had great teachers to help me appreciate the texts. Check out the endnotes.

I would love to see this play performed! It deserves a lot more attention and discussion. ( )
  patronus11 | Mar 31, 2013 |
i like the idea of the book. but too much like reading shakespear so i could not get through it. if you like shakespear english than this might be for you. but over my head of understanding. ( )
  rhonda1111 | Jan 25, 2011 |
I'm VERY new here at Library Thing, so please work with me here while I try to figure this out!!! OK, so I just entered myself into the "Member Giveaway" contest to read this book. Based on the description of All the World's a Grave, it looks AWESOME. I am a Shakespeare fanatic. I've read all of Shakespeare's plays, poems, and sonnets, which, believe me, doesn't mean that I remember every detail from all of his work! But the plays that are "borrowed from" in this book are monumental -- Hamlet (my favorite work of all time), King Lear, Othello, Romeo & Juliet (maybe one or two others?) If I win a copy of this book I will definitely read it (and I have a feeling I will enjoy it a LOT) and I will definitely place a review here. I'm just wondering if there's a specific time period, from the time you win a book to the time you post your review??? I'm not the fastest reader in the world -- I average around one week per book (sometimes more, sometimes less.)

Anyway, this does seem to be a fantastic book, so I hope I win a copy!!!!
  BarbaraNYC | Dec 11, 2010 |
Reid had an interesting idea, even if the end result is a bit silly. He has composed a "new" play made up entirely of passages from Shakespeare's originals. The "All-Star Cast" will give you an inkling of what is to come:

HAMLET as the Prince of Bohemia
JULIET as the Princess of Aquitaine
IAGO as lieutenant to the prince
ROMEO as general to the prince
MACBETH as lover to the queen (and soon to be king)
THE QUEEN as wife to Old Hamlet, king of Bohemia
KING LEAR as king of Aquitaine and father to Juliet

With special appearances by:
Old Hamlet and his Ghost
Three weird sisters
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
The senators of Bohemia
Polonius, speaker for the senate
A local pastor
Two armies of soldiers
The herald of Aquitaine
A troupe of actors
King Lear's cook
The queen's doctor

Well, you get the drift. Hamlet, with a lot of lines lifted from Henry V, wages war on Aquitaine in hopes of marrying the princess, Juliet. Upon his return, he finds that his mother has murdered his father and married . . . Macbeth! Iago is there to spur Hamlet's jealousy (a la Othello) to the brink of madness. It's all in good fun, even if it is touted as a tragedy. But you'd better know your Shakespeare, since half the fun is in identifying the original sources of lines and plotlines. ( )
7 vote Cariola | Jun 19, 2010 |
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O for a must of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention: a kingdom for a stage, princes to act, and monarchs to behold the swelling scene.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452289866, Paperback)

Read John Reed's posts on the Penguin Blog.

An epic tragedy of love, war, murder, and madness, plucked from the pages of Shakespeare

In All the World’s a Grave, John Reed reconstructs the works of William Shakespeare into a new five-act tragedy. The language is Shakespeare’s, but the drama that unfolds is as fresh as the blood on the stage.

Prince Hamlet goes to war for Juliet, the daughter of King Lear. Having captured Juliet as his bride—by reckless war—he returns home to find that his mother has murdered his father and married Macbeth. Enter Iago, who persuades Hamlet that Juliet is having an affair with Romeo. As the Prince goes mad with jealousy, King Lear mounts his army. . .

This play promises to be the most provocative and entertaining work to be added to the Shakespeare canon since Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:47 -0400)

Reconstructs the language and works of William Shakespeare into a new five-act tragedy that brings together the characters and situations of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth.

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