Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Note: Wyrd Sisters

Prachett, Terry. Wyrd Sisters. London: Corgi, 2005.

In terms of enjoyable Shakespeare-related lunacy, you can do no better than Terry Prachett's Wyrd Sisters. I only learned of Prachett recently: a colleague who knew that I was teaching a course called Literature of Humor recommended him. After the first paragraph, I became quite angry—angry that no one had told me about him before! After the second paragraph, I said, "This author is doing to fantasy literature what Douglas Adams did to science fiction." After the third paragraph, I was rejoicing at the treasure trove of books by Prachett that lay before me.

This volume, which fits in Prachett's Discworld series (see the Wikipedia entry on the subject for more information), provides a humorous take on the Weïrd Sisters, as well as bits and pieces of other Shakespeare plays. It even includes a band of traveling players who contemplate their profession in very enjoyable prose.

Although I was completely ignorant of it, a large slice of the world has reveled in this book for over twenty years. It has been scripted as a play (by Stephen Briggs) and even (in 1997) released as a television mini-series in Britain.

Here's a selection of the opening chapter (click on the image to enlarge it to the level of legibility):


The novel is wacky and ludicrous by turns—and thoroughly enjoyable. Give it a try!

Links: The TV Mini-series at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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