Loyal readers may remember a post I made last summer called “Illustrating Shakespeare with Paper” about the new “Signature Shakespeare” series from Barnes and Noble. Well the kind folks at Sterling Publishing (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes and Noble) were generous enough to send me all *4* different editions (Hamlet, Much Ado, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth) and I’M GIVING THEM AWAY!
I’ve got Romeo and Juliet here in front of me. These are serious volumes, hardcover, weighing in at almost 400 pages. These are the kind of books that make you think about the old days where you’d have an entire bookshelf with nothing but volumes of the encyclopedia. How cool would that be, just a shelf consisting of beautiful hardcover illustrated editions of all the plays? Want.
Do you know what these are? These are essentially textbooks you might carry around in support of your college class. There’s a good 50 pages of introductory material to lead off, and then we dig patiently into the play itself, spread out with one page of notes/glossary for every page of text (where there’s not enough to note, you get illustrations ;)) The scenes themselves are presented patiently, with ample wide space for easy reading. Act 3 Scene 1, as a random example, spreads itself out over 20 pages.
Over and above the ample notes distributed throughout the text, there’s an additional “Longer Notes” section in the appendix, as well as essays on how the text has been edited over the years. (These are of course notes about a single edition, but I am assuming that the series all take a similar structure).
What catches everybody’s eye, however, is the illustrations. It’s not even fair to call them mere illustrations, because what they’ve done here is to take the artwork of Kevin Stanton and produce laser-cut multicolor versions that really have to be seen to be appreciated (there are images at the above link to the artist’s web page). Haven’t we all folded up a piece of paper, make a few cutouts, and produced snowflakes? Now imagine that a snip here and a snip there and when you unfold it you’ve got the balcony scene, or the nightingale scene, or the swordfight. Honestly I’m scared to keep these for myself, because I’d never let my children touch them. I do wish that they’d come up some some tougher stock for the cutouts, they feel as if they could rip at the slightest page turn.
Which poses a dilemma, because earlier I said that these would make perfect college textbooks. But the wear and tear that such use would put on them would almost certainly destroy the artwork. I almost want a coffee table book that truly showcases Stanton’s work, something that I can put out for my guests to enjoy. That way I can feel comfortable about the textbook portion, flipping pages at will, making notes in the margins, without feeling like I’m destroying a piece of art.
HOW DO I WIN ONE?
As I said I have 4 books to giveaway. Since it is Shakespeare’s Birthday today and I’m going to make several dozen posts, here’s the rules:
- Make a comment on any of today’s (April 23) posts. The more comments you make, the more entries you can have into the contest (up to a max of 1 comment per post!) Since this contest no doubt will go up earlier in the day don’t forget to come back and make more comments as more posts go up!
- Email me with your username (so I can find your comments) and your preference for which book you’d like. I make no promises that I’ll be able to satisfy first choices, so please provide your first and second choice.
- Entries must be in the continental US, I’m afraid. As always I’m shipping these out of my own pocket, and this time in particular it’s going to be a strain on ye olde piggy bank. These things are heavy!
- Contest ends midnight eastern standard time on Sunday April 28 (which happens to be *my* birthday).
- I’ll choose 4 winners at random, and try my best to get everybody their first choice.
Any questions or clarifications please feel free to contact me! As always I must reserve the right to modify the contest in the event of any stupid mistakes, oversights or ambiguities on my part that require clarification. That’s never been a problem in the past, though I feel obligated to say it each time.
Ok, we good? Get commenting!
This year’s Shakespeare Day Celebration is sponsored in part by Shakespeare Is Universal: Shakespeare truly is for everyone, and nothing demonstrates that sentiment better than his most famous quote of all, translated here into languages from around the world. In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, show that you believe his works are just as relevant, powerful and important as they’ve ever been!