We are used to thinking of productions of Shakespeare’s plays as creating new works of art that demonstrate the vitality of the centuries-old drama. But in the right hands, books can achieve the same effect. Emily Martin’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, published by Naughty Dog Press in 2012 and acquired by the Folger last year (ART Vol. e316), blends together Shakespeare’s play with our lives today and the paper presence of a book with the theatrical drama of the stage. At first glance, Martin’s book looks just like a book, although looking at the spine suggests that there’s something unusual afoot.
In my last post, I described this month’s crocodile mystery as more of a rhetorical device than a question to be answered: what does this box prompt us to imagine what might be? ((All images in this post can be viewed in larger sizes through the gallery at the end.)) And what does it contain? Both a stage and a book. But it’s not just any stage and not just any book. The Globe Theatre is the setting for a miniature book that picks up on all the possibilities of staging: “Presenting the Seven Ages of Man / by Mr William Shakespeare / As Rendered Movingly by Mrs. Maryline Poole Adams.”