Othello: The Moor of Venice

Othello: The Moor of Venice

by John R. Brown
     
 

An exciting new edition of the complete works of Shakespeare with these features: Illustrated with photographs from New York Shakespeare Festival productions, vivid readable readable introductions for each play by noted scholar David Bevington, a lively personal foreword by Joseph Papp, an insightful essay on the play in performance, modern spelling and pronunciation…  See more details below

Overview

An exciting new edition of the complete works of Shakespeare with these features: Illustrated with photographs from New York Shakespeare Festival productions, vivid readable readable introductions for each play by noted scholar David Bevington, a lively personal foreword by Joseph Papp, an insightful essay on the play in performance, modern spelling and pronunciation, up-to-date annotated bibliographies, and convenient listing of key passages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
More than a retelling, this aptly termed "reconceptualization" provocatively modernizes Shakespeare's play. As in the original, the middle-aged general Othello the ``moor'' and young European noblewoman Desdemona fall in love and marry secretly. But Lester (To Be a Slave; John Henry) transplants the action from Venice and Cyprus to Elizabethan England and turns Iago and Emily into Africans like Othello, so that the three of them share a distinctly non-European point of view. Iago's envy of Othello and ability to whip him into a jealous rage at Desdemona are thus cast in a new light, though the tragic outcome remains the same. While the ending feels abrupt, Lester's novel succeeds in holding up a mirror to contemporary society. Phrases and passages directly based on Shakespeare's language are printed in a different typeface, a device that may distract the reader but eases comparisons with the original work. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
The ALAN Review - Barbara G. Samuels
Shakespeare's plays often retell stories from other sources. In this novel, Julius Lester reverses that order and transforms Othello from drama to novel form. In doing so, he further investigates the characters of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona and provides answers to questions left unanswered by Shakespeare. He transforms Iago and his wife Emilia into Africans, sets the novel in England, and explores the racial issues in the story. Lester, author of books on slavery and African Americans in the United States, makes the mixed-race marriage and the relationships between blacks and whites more relevant and accessible to contemporary young people with his interpretation of the play. Of course most of the language in the novel is changed, but readers familiar with Shakespeare will recognize phrases and sentences as well as modern paraphrasing of allusions to Elizabethan society. Othello: A Novel may provide a transition to help students move into Shakespeare while at the same time raising challenging questions for discussion.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In this beautiful and powerful novelization of Shakespeare's play, Lester has kept the plot intact but made some other changes crucial to his purpose. He shifts the setting from Venice to England and, most significantly, makes Othello, Iago, and Iago's wife all definitively black. They share a three-way friendship that originated in their native Africa. It is important that Iago is black and thereby released from any racist intent; the author is then able to maintain the focus of the tragedy on the weaknesses of the human soul and on problems of perception versus reality. But through the enhanced character development afforded by the novel form, Lester has also explored problems of racial alienation. His prose is an incredibly skillful blend of his own words and Shakespeare's, both paraphrased and quoted directly, interwoven seamlessly into a narrative that transmutes the musical feeling of Shakespeare's language into modern English. This is a book to be enjoyed on its own but is sure to send many readers back to the original with a heightened understanding of and appreciation for it. This wonderful achievement is a must for all libraries.-Margaret Cole, Oceanside Library, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780155676787
Publisher:
Harcourt College Publishers
Publication date:
01/01/1973
Pages:
108

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