Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Sonnets Become Short Films: Links You Need to See

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Anyone with an artistically gifted friend may find themselves experiencing a familiar twinge of jealousy any time they watch them passionately pour themselves into their chosen medium, but this Kickstarter is going to change that: merely donate five dollars and you’ll become the subject of an art show, made with your data. Of course, one of the main rules of making art is that good artists steal and build on the works of others: this artist might have adhered to that principle a little too literally (as a former counterfeiter), but the Sonnet Project — whose goal is to create a short film for each of Shakespeare’s sonnets, each filmed in a different NYC location — is a perfect and legal example of this rule.
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To Dance or to Click? Links You Need to See

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Should you need something to nudge you out of post-workweek torpor this weekend, it’s probably best that you start your Friday evening off with this mashup of the best scenes of people dancing in movies. Though, come to think of it, that won’t get you dancing, it’ll just get you sedentarily watching other people dancing, likely alone, and likely clutching nondescript snack-food and/or cat, and it’ll probably just be a gateway to a long Internet-consuming fugue state, which you’ll come out of wondering why you (and possibly aforementioned cat) can’t get the haunting image of Kim Jong-un bent over out of your head(s). 
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50 Essential Literary Biographies

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Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary …Read More

10 Fictional Assassinations of Real People

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Honestly, I have no idea why two fictional assassinations of real people are causing controversy at the same time. First it was author Hilary Mantel’s short story “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” (see below). Next, as you probably know, The Interview — about the fictional assassination of Kim Jong-un — drew the ire of some hackers somewhere, and the result has been a maelstrom of insanity and AutoCorrect the likes of which Hollywood has never seen.
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10 Literary Holiday Gifts for 2014

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Thesauruses, usage guides, high-proof alcohol: there is no shortage of useful literary gifts for 2014, whether they’re as expensive as the rarest book or as cheap as a pencil. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together ten of the best possible goods for your literary or writerly or editorially-inclined loved ones, because book culture doesn’t have to end at the book and begin with book fetishism. Sometimes literary culture can begin with a book in a tiny sweater.
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Enter Winter: 10 Poems for the End of Autumn

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Thanksgiving’s coming up and there’s a definite chill in the air — so we thought we might warm ourselves by sharing ten of our favorite poems to accompany frosty mornings and leaf-shaking nights. Some of these poets’ speakers delight in snow and cold, and some get thoroughly depressed. A wintry mix, as it were. Curl up and read this near your favorite fire!
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45 Transgressive Spins on Shakespeare, Past and Present

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After seeing The Public’s production of King Lear this summer, Ira Glass came to the incendiary conclusion that “Shakespeare sucks.” The comment riled many, for reasons that are largely obvious to anyone who understands the Bard’s place in the literary canon, but also because of the threat that such an influential public figure’s disapproval poses to an art form that’s already been noted to be “dying” at the slow pace of a stabbed Shakespearean character. Now, some would counter that theater’s adherence to the past is what’s dooming it in the first place, and that our reverence toward Shakespeare is the core of the problem. But Shakespeare has actually proven to be one of the most vital vessels for change in theater. Here are 45 productions that — through radical politics, outlandish visuals, and enormous Kevin Spacey heads, might change the way you (and Ira Glass) — view …Read More

A Love Letter to the Modern World: On Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’

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Historically, prestigious prizes like the National Book Award are reserved for realist fiction, or at least historical fiction from a realist angle; and, for many of us, these books can make for dull reading. Thankfully, it appears that the tide is turning towards a wider variety of voices, settings — and genres. Most indicative of this turn is the recent success of Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in October. The winner will be announced on November 19.
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