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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice by Richard Appignanesi & Faye Yong

Published September 21st 2009 by SelfMadeHero
208 pages
Source: Review Copy via TeensReadToo

With gorgeous manga-style illustrations, Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a compelling representation of the Bard's famous play about the Jewish moneylender. The three intertwined plots -- Antonio's bond with Shylock, Bassanio's suit, and Jessica's escape from her cruel father -- are all brought together in an undoubtedly less intimidating way than Shakespeare's original play.

Having read and thoroughly dissected almost every single word of The Merchant of Venice as a student recently, this manga still managed to provide me with new insights and details that might not have been noticed from reading the actual play.

An interesting aspect of the volume: word choice. It reads like Shakespeare's original, although it isn't quite the same -- yes, I dug out my copy of The Merchant of Venice and compared the two. The manga uses the same writing style, vocabulary, and similar sentence structure, but is slightly more condensed. I vastly prefer this method to a simple rewrite of the great Bard's words, as most of Shakespeare's lyricism was not lost.

Manga Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is a great introduction into Shakespeare for those who feel the urge to curl up in a fetal position each time the Bard's name is mentioned. And for Shakespeare fanatics, the volume is a fresh new look at greedy Shylock, self-sacrificing Antonio, and beautiful and cunning Portia.

Rating: 3
fairly intriguing
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