- Series: William Shakespeare's Star Wars
- Hardcover: 520 pages
- Publisher: Quirk Books; Box Har/Ps edition (October 28, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594747911
- ISBN-13: 978-1594747915
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.5 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy: The Royal Imperial Boxed Set: Includes Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; The Jedi Doth Return; and an 8-by-34-inch full-color poster Hardcover – October 28, 2014
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“It’s quite a feat to translate a modern masterwork like Star Wars into the most celebrated and enduring literary style known to humans... This trio is a delight whether [you] know Shakespeare, Star Wars, both, or neither.”—Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight
Praise from William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
“...a quirky addition to the genre-busting canon...”—Entertainment Weekly
“. . . a great gift for every geek you know, no matter what their passion.” – Huffington Post
“...the book is so brilliant you’ll wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner.”—Paste Magazine
“William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is Exactly What You Need For Your Next Geeky Houseparty.”—Tor.com
“Nicolas Delort's woodcut-style illustrations are a fabulous mixture of old and new.”—Boing Boing
“At last, the mother of all mashups is upon us."—CNET.com
“Ian Doescher has reimagined the entire first Star Wars film as an Elizabethan play, complete with iambic pentameter and elaborate illustrations. It's geekception.”—The Mary Sue
“Doescher’s pseudo-Shakespearean language is absolutely dead-on; this is one of the best-written Shakespeare parodies created for this audience and it is absolutely laugh-out-loud funny for those familiar with both The Bard and Star Wars.”—School Library Journal
“...the ultimate fan fic.”— ABC News Radio
“For anglophiles, scifi nerds, and probably 9th grade English students.”—The Bookreporter
“If you are looking for a neat way to get acquainted with Shakespeare or you are a teacher whose students are having a rough time accessing the genius of the Bard of Avon, I highly recommend you give William Shakespeare’s Star Wars a try!”—GeekMom
“Doescher’s attempt to recreate a Shakespearean play is noteworthy and clever.”—Blogcritics.org
“The Bard at his finest, with all the depth of character, insightful soliloquies, and clever wordplay that we’ve come to expect from the Master. For those who wish to read the Star Wars legend in the original Elizabethan, this is the book for you.”—Timothy Zahn, New York Times bestselling author of Scoundrels
“Well-read geeks have breathlessly waited
For what Ian Doescher hath created
This book's cover is the door
To a Star Wars ne'er seen before”
—Daniel Wallace, New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters
“I'm delighted to have William Shakespeare's Star Wars, and have read it with great pleasure. What a fine idea, to set this in the world of Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 C-3PO and Darth Vader! A period of civil war, rebels, the Galactic Empire, the death star. A star-crossed galaxy! Ian Doescher does iambic pentameter well. This is a hoot!”—David Bevington, Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, University of Chicago and co-editor of The Bantam Shakespeare series
“..another smart tribute fans will enjoy."—The Star-Ledger
“As Shakespeare would say, you might think, this be madness, yet there is a method in 't.”—Newsday
“...what Doescher made is delicious.”—Charleston City Paper
“This is a great read. Author Ian Doescher may not have bested Shakespeare, but he’s certainly one-upped Lucas.”—Asbury Park Press
“Is it all a great, geeky, inter-galactic goblet of literary fun? Verily!” —AmericanProfile.com
“Whether your tastes run to Alderaan or Avon, this reimagining of Star Wars overflows with heart and wit.”—Jason Fry, author of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare
“[William Shakespeare's Star Wars] is a a brilliant and super-cool way to meld pop culture and high culture”—Bella Online
“An elegant translation for a more civilized age. Let's face it—if you love Shakespeare or Star Wars half as much as I do, you've already bought this.”
—Adam Bertocci, author of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, writer-director of Brooklyn Force and Run Leia Run, and moderator of TheForce.net
“Zounds, the Forsooth is strong in this one! Two of the most creative minds in the universe collide with spectacular, hilarious and surprisingly touching insight into the original classic. This truly is Star Wars as you like it.”—Joe Schreiber, author of Star Wars: Death Troopers and Lenny Cyrus, School Virus
Praise from William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back
“...enormous fun…” —AVClub.com
“Good luck getting to the end without rolling off your chairs. This book is a hoot.”—McClatchy Tribune
“So what are you waiting for? Get thee once more to a galaxy far, far away.”—Paste Magazine
“...an inspired illustrated mashup that retells the space adventure in artful iambic pentameter and answers the question: What light through Yoda's window breaks?”—Tampa Bay Tribune
“Classic literature blended with fun is the best way to describe William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back...”—San Gabriel Valley Tribune
“Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, [William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back] offer[s] essential reading for all ages.”—East Bay Express
“‘Tis a delight.”—Palm Beach Post
“This is a must for any fan of ‘Star Wars’”—The Citizen
Praise from William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Jedi Doth Return
“If you love ‘Star Wars’ and Shakespeare, this book is the pinnacle of perfection.”—Yoda News
“...a masterful mashup of English lit and pop culture that’s hilarious, dramatic and downright mesmerizing.”—American Profile
“For those who enjoyed Doescher's first two retellings, rejoice, for the merriment plays on.”—The Free Lance-Star
Praise from William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Phantom of Menace
“Enjoy this tale in iambic pentameter, for it has all the necessary aspects of any Shakespeare play – the betrayal, the hope, the tragedy...This book is necessary for any Star Wars fan’s collection.”—Geeks of Doom
“William Shakespeare and “Star Wars” collide in the most delightful fashion.”—McClatchy Tribune
“Witty and stylish, The Phantom of Menace is neither campy nor silly, but a finely-crafted work of art.”—Examiner.com
Praise from William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge
“The writing’s quite good; elaborate Elizabethan woodcuts (Chewbacca the Wookie with a Hamlet-style medieval cap holding a Game-of-Thrones-style banner) are just icing on the cake”—The Wall Street Journal
“Star Wars fans, Shakespeare fans and readers who delight in cleverness are sure to enjoy what Doescher has done with this popular story.”—Deseret News
About the Author
Ian Doescher is the New York Times best-selling author of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars® series. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family. Visit him at IanDoescher.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Very quickly it became apparent that Doescher is an avid student of Shakespeare and a lifelong fan of Star Wars. The books work on two very distinct levels. The first is the Doescher doesn't just do a bro-like approximation of Shakespeare, he actually does his studied best to invoke the bard. From the iambic pentameter (the style and shape that Shakespeare constructed his plays in) to the creative use of the Shakespeare lexicon to make it sound as though each character is speaking in phrases coined by Bill himself. It's authentic, not parody. But because the stories are so familiar to many of us, it's easy to glean the meaning of unfamiliar phrases and words.
The second place these work is that Doescher makes humorous choices in these adaptations that gives a new life and charm to the stories. One of my favorite examples of this occurs early on in the first book (Verily, A New Hope). As R2-D2 is about to climb into the escape pod with C-3P0 he stops and delivers a monologue, the first time we hear him speak aside from the beeping sounds. He explains, in the eloquent verbiage of the style, that the success of him holding on to the plans for the Death Star is dependent upon him not speaking, but remaining in a way as to appear "simple". So he will continue to communicate in only beeps and to bear the verbal barbs of 3P0 because the mission is the most important thing. It's a smart and comical choice that adds depth and dimension to a character, giving him a Shakespeare-like complexity that the original character never had.
And the asides and soliloquies are fantastic, invoking some of Shakespeare's most famous lines. Characters ponder mistakes they've made or their roles in this giant epic. Vader contemplates often on his own nature and his power. Doescher does a great job of reading into the characters and trying to envision the things these characters would wonder about in their quiet, private moments. And it's in these moments that the true beauty of this project comes across. To delve into the characters and create something that both sounds and feels authentic, something that never existed in the previous stories, takes care and precision that just a throwaway humor book would never have.
These are great books that are bound to delight any fan of Star Wars. Also, if I were ever to teach a class or and introductory section on Shakespeare to high schoolers, I would absolutely open with passages from these books. It makes understanding the Shakespeare style of speaking so much more intuitive.
A resounding success and one I look forward to visiting time and again. And the price is great. Just buy them!
How about Shakespeare?
That seems to be the idea behind Ian Doescher's "William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy," a deliciously witty reimagining of the Star Wars saga in glorious iambic pentameter. While obviously a very funny spoof ("Now is the summer of our happiness/made winter by this sudden, fierce attack"), it's also a very well-written and eloquent experiment in pseudo-Elizabethan verse.
Anyone who has paid attention to pop culture in the last fifty years knows the main story already -- two droids land on Tattooine, give a message to old Ben Kenobi, he trains the plucky hero Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi, there's a guy in a dark helmet who (spoiler) turns out to be Luke's dad, Luke snogs his sister by accident, a few Death Stars blow up, and so on. If you know none of this, then please join the rest of the world.
A lot of people don't realize that, pre-copyright laws, Shakespeare actually was the master of taking preexisting stories (some fictional, some not) and sculpting them into the classic stories we know and love today. Yes, Shakespeare was the original producer of remakes, reboots, and "re-imaginings." Wrap your brain around that.
So the idea of him writing a somewhat less awkward Star Wars screenplay isn't actually that hard to imagine. And Ian Doescher... well, he does a really, really good job of bridging parody and actual sort-of-kind-of Shakespearean verse in this. He's clearly studied Shakespeare's writing, and rather than just adding a few prithees and "eths" to the preexisting screenplay, he actually reworks almost every line in it. Well, except for Chewie and R2D2. There's only so many ways you can translate "Auugh!" or "Beep."
One example? Like Shakespeare in his time, he includes the stage directions in the actual text ("I turn to thee, thou rebel. Aye, I lift/Thy head above my own") and asides to the audience ("O news that fills my heart with utter dread!").
And he writes whole swaths of dialogue that have no parallel in the original, but are the kind of things that Shakespeare would probably have done in his own time ("How strange this hand, which feeleth like my flesh/Yet is such stuff as droids are made of"). It has lots of witty little moments and fun in-jokes that make it even funnier (ghostly Obi-Wan reflects that "’Twas well I spoke/Not of the midi-chlorians to Luke,/For then he would have endless questions still"), as well as some fun moments (R2D2 is very eloquent when he's not talking to other characters).
While fun as a novelty, "William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy" is also a very cleverly-written reworking of a classic space opera.... in the style of a classic playwright. Clever, witty and funny, and of interest to even casual Shakespeare nerds.