Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks Hardback
Many people know about William Shakespeare's famous encounter with the Doctor at the Globe Theatre in 1599.
But what few people know (though many have suspected) is that it was not the first time they met. Drawn from recently-discovered archives, The Shakespeare Notebooks is the holy grail of Bard scholars: conclusive proof that the Doctor not only appeared throughout Shakespeare's life, but had a significant impact on his writing.
In these pages you'll find early drafts of scenes and notes for characters that never appeared in the plays; discarded lines of dialogue and sonnets; never-before-seen journal entries; and much more. From the original notes for Hamlet (with a very different appearance by the ghost) and revealing early versions of the faeries of A Midsummer Night's Dream, to strange stage directions revised to remove references to a mysterious blue box, The Shakespeare Notebooks is an astonishing document that offers a unique insight into the mind of one of history's most respected and admired figures. And also, of course, William Shakespeare.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Ebury Publishing
- Publication Date: 12/06/2014
- Category: Science fiction
- ISBN: 9781849908115
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Review by JonArnold
If you need an idea of how big Doctor Who is these days it’s this; an indulgent cash cow based around a single joke which’ll amuse the overlap of a Venn diagram of Who fans and Shakespearians. It’s partially written by the range consulting editor and his son - I’ll forebear to comment on whether the latter was a commission of merit as the individual pieces aren’t credited.It’s essentially a series of fragments which interpolates the Doctor into Shakespeare with mixed results; sometimes it works by revelling in its absurdity (such as the version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), sometimes by a clever storytelling conceit (the footnotes of Julius Caesar), and even once by inverting the joke (the Shakespeare-ising of An Unearthly Child). The better pieces generally have the virtue of constructing a story around the central gag, the lesser pieces are content to simply point and chuckle at the Doctor being in Shakespeare – the extended Macbeth which quickly palls is a particularly bad offender here. Sadly the latter type of piece tends to prevail so it comes across as a themed grab bag rather than a coherent book. Perhaps it might be an upmarket ‘toilet book’ but some kind of narrative conceit might have helped tie things together. As it is this is a collection of occasional highs mired in some repetitive lows.