We have Shakespeare to thank for helping to shape the English language, and the preeminent playwright’s influence on literature is evident in the works of everyone from Herman Melville to William Faulkner. We wanted to examine how a few contemporary authors have been injecting new life into the Bard’s creations, which have been forever embedded in our collective cultural mythos. Inspired by the New York Times’ article about Maurice Sendak’s connection to Shakespeare, here are ten novels that tackle the dramatist’s theatrics.
Christopher Moore brings his absurd wit to Shakespeare’s five-act tragedy King Lear, chronicled by the character of the Fool (named Pocket). In the play, the mad king’s court jester becomes a narrator for the royal’s weary conscience. The book honors the character’s role, but elevates him to a hilarious, raunchier version of the courtier with a razor-sharp tongue à la Eddie Izzard.