March 28th, 2008

geek girl

Mighty Moments in Literary History, part 923

Last week I happened to look up some Shakespeare facts on that haphazard bastion of modern knowledge, Wikipedia, and I became fascinated by images of the frontispieces from some early printed editions of his plays. I was particularly struck by the way that title pages like this, this and this don't just give the play and author's name, but also include plenty of enticing adjectives and juicy plot details, giving them the allure of a proper advertising blurb.

This got me thinking about what Shakespeare's title pages would have looked like if he were a writer of a much more modern and much less talented variety. The idea bounced around in my head for three minutes, and the following piece of silliness serious academic research was born.

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Rumours of a rudely scrawled notice pinned to the wall of the Globe Theatre, claiming that the Bard wouldn't finish Henry IV Part II until he'd got at least fifty reviews for Henry IV Part I, remain as yet unfounded....