Timon of Athens

What If Modern Authors Redid Shakespeare?

In June of 2013, Random House imprint Hogarth Press announced that they are commissioning a slate of authors to novelize the complete works of Shakespeare for a modern audience. The launch of these books in 2016 will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

The roster of illustrious authors who have signed on to modernize Shakespeare’s plays includes Margaret Atwood (The Tempest), Jeannette Winterson (The Winter’s Tale), Anne Tyler (The Taming of the Shrew), Howard Jacobson (The Merchant of Venice), and Jo Nesbo (Macbeth).

With the 400th anniversary only two years away, and 32 plays left unclaimed, Hogarth is running out of time to get these books written, so we thought we’d help them out with suggestions of author and play pairings we’d like to see. We had trouble limiting our imaginations to living authors only though!


J.R.R. Tolkein + Hamlet: Hamlet, Shakespeare’s longest work, is a four hour play about a prince who decides in Act 1 to avenge his father’s death, and after five acts and 3834 lines of flip-flopping, he eventually gets around to it. Who better to take on the dithering Dane than the man who wrote the three-part story of a skittish hobbit who takes 1300 pages to accomplish one task?


Stephenie Meyer + Romeo and Juliet: Despite its reputation as the greatest love story ever told, let’s face it, once Mercutio dies, Romeo and Juliet is a total snooze-fest. In order to appeal to today’s main audience for epic love stories (i.e. tweens), R&J could use an injection of vampire vs. werewolf warfare to pump up the drama. “O Romeo, Romeo, a werewolf art thou, Romeo?”


George R.R. Martin + Titus Andronicus: Shakespeare, who was never one to shy away from bloodshed and violence, has a literary soul mate in the bloodthirsty author of the Game of Thrones series. I get chills just imagining what gruesome twists Martin would add to a story already brimming with beheadings, tongue removals, and characters getting baked into pies.


Dr. Seuss + Timon of Athens: Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens is essentially the plot of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas told in reverse. In this lesser known play, Timon, a wealthy Athenian, blithely bestows his riches on his flaky artist friends, and anyone else who asks. But when his money runs out and his friends abandon him, he renounces human society and runs off to the forest to live in a cave. He spends the rest of his days hating everyone and spouting abuse at anyone who dares to visit.


Jasper Fforde + The Tempest: I know Hogarth already has an author for The Tempest, but we couldn’t resist fantasizing about what kinds of transgressions Fforde’s literary detective Thursday Next would call out the characters on Prospero’s island for.


What if Shakespeare…were a WEATHER FORECASTER? (January Edition)

For Toronto, Ontario, Canada – January 7-13th

MONDAY:  Hideous winter… / Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone / Beauty o’ersnow’d and bareness every where (1). When clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks (2).  High 0.

TUESDAY:  The blushing discontented sun / …perceives the envious clouds are bent / To dim his glory (3).  The more fair and crystal is the sky / The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly (4).  High 2.

WEDNESDAY:  Adding to clouds more clouds (5).  The winds grow high (6), the winds and persecutions of the sky (7).  High 5.

THURSDAY:   The sun breaks through the darkest clouds (8). To the brightest beams / Distracted clouds give way; so stand thou forth / The time is fair again! (9)  High 5.

FRIDAY:  A hot January (10) – This goodly summer with your winter mix’d (11).  The childing autumn, angry winter, change / Their wonted liveries (12). High 9.

THE WEEKEND – SATURDAY, SUNDAY:  Our day is gone; / Clouds, dews, and dangers come (13), cloud of winter showers (14), winter’s drizzled snow (15).  High 4 and 2.

1)  Sonnet 5

2)  Richard III, 2.3

3)  Richard II, 3.3

4)  Richard II, 1.1

5)  Romeo & Juliet, 1.1

6)  Henry VI, Part II; 2.1

7)  King Lear, 2.3

8)  Taming of the Shrew, 4.3

9)  All’s Well That Ends Well, 5.3

10)  Much Ado About Nothing, 1.1

11)  Titus Andronicus, 5.2

12)  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1

13)  Julius Caesar, 5.3

14)  Timon of Athens, 2.2

15)  Comedy of Errors, 5.1

Shakespeare re-arranged by Laboni

What if Shakespeare…were an ARTIST?


Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight Adonis painted by a running brook, and Cytherea all in sedges hid (1). A thousand moral paintings I can show that shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune’s more pregnantly than words (2).

O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear (3). A Death’s-head or a memento mori (4). Have I frightened thee (5)?

What’s here? the portrait of (6) a virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful (7). Here in her hairs the painter plays the spider and hath woven a golden mesh to entrap the hearts of me (8). Good my lord, forbear: The ruddiness upon her lip is wet; You’ll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own with oily painting (9).

For your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company (10). Inspiration of celestial grace (11) has struck (12); I wish (13) to create (14).

1)    The  Taming of the Shrew, Prologue, 193-6

2)     Timon of Athens, I.i, 110-12

3)     Macbeth, III.iv, 1347-8

4)     Henry IV, Part II, III.iii, 2036

5)     Henry IV, Part II, III,I, 1710

6)     The Merchant of Venice, II.ix, 1184

7)     The Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV.iv, 221

8)     The Merchant of Venice, III.ii, 1489-1492

9)     The Winter’s Tale, V.iii, 3384-7

10)  Much Ado About Nothing, V.i, 2262-3

11)  Henry VI, Part I, V.iv, 2711

12)  Henry V, IV.viii, 2735

13)  All’s Well That Ends Well, I.i, 180

14)  Henry VI, Part III, IV.iii, 2207

Shakespeare re-arranged by Lisa

Image: ClipArt ETC – Kantner Book of Objects 114

What if Shakespeare… ran a HALLOWEEN SHOP?

Something wicked this way comes…


“Come hither, come, come, come!” [1] “Be truly welcome hither” [2]. “Come, go in: / I’ll show thee some attires” [3]. “What is it you will see?” [4] “Be what thou wilt” [5]. “A Persian Prince” [6] “say you sir?” [7] “I like that well” [8].

“This new and gorgeous garment” [9] “fits the purpose passing well” [10]. “Quick, quick! we’ll come dress you straight: put / On the gown the while” [11].  “I do not like the fashion of your garments. / You’ll say they are Persian attire; but / Let them be chang’d” [12].

“Wouldst thou be” [13] “a gallant knight” [14], “attired like a warrior?” [15] “I’ll give thee, friend, / An armour all of gold” [16]. “It well befits you” [17]. “How like you this?” [18] “Pray you, look not sad” [19], “thou shalt have my best gown” [20].

(to attendant) “Come hither, sirrah” [21], “go fetch / My best attires” [22].

“Well, what would you say” [23] “the queen of all the fairies, / Finely attired in a robe of white” [24]. “I pray you, bear with me” [25]. “Fully satisfied” [26] “will I see thee by and by” [27].

(Aside) “Alack, alack, alack!” [28] “What should I do with him?” [29]

(to attendant) “Sirrah, a word with you” [30]. “Let’s go dress him / Like the witch of Brentford” [31].

“Good sir, draw near to me” [32]. “Behold and see” [33] “a wretched creature” [34], “spotted, detested and abominable” [35]. “So wither’d and so wild in their attire / That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth” [36]. “What say you?” [37] “Is this the guise?” [38]

“Ay, those attires are best” [39]. “I shall give thee” [40] “a bloody mask” [41] “with great ragg’d horns” [42]. “Pray you, come near” [43], “I’ll tell you true” [44], “I am afraid, sir” [45], “to look upon the hideous” [46], “monstrous form” [47] “I see before me” [48].  “I pray thee, mark me” [49] – “with you in this garb” [50] “thou art assured” [51] “to fright the world” [52]. “And yet, I know thou wilt” [53] “win the prize” [54], “for thou look’st” [55] “second to none” [56].

Shakespeare re-arranged by Linda Nicoll

1. Anthony and Cleopatra [V. ii. 3441]
2. As You Like It [II. vii. 1096]
3. Much Ado About Nothing [III. i. 1179-80]
4. Hamlet [V. ii. 4027]
5. Henry VI. P I [V. iii. 2503]
6. The Merchant of Venice [II. i. 540
7. Cymbeline [IV. ii. 2794]
8. Pericles [II. v. 32]
9. Henry IV. P II [V. ii. 3292]
10. Titus Andronicus [II. iii. 819]
11. Merry Wives of Windsor [IV. ii. 2040-41]
12. King Lear [III. vi. 80-82]
13. Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. xiv. 3067]
14. Henry IV. P I [V. iii. 2901]
15. Cymbeline [V. iv. 3168]
16. Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. viii. 2816-17]
17. Henry IV. P II [III. ii. 1934]
18. As You Like It [III. ii. 1133]
19. Anthony and Cleopatra [III. ii. 2128]
20. Pericles [II. i. 741]
21. Measure for Measure [IV. ii. 1886]
22. Anthony and Cleopatra [V. ii. 3673-74]
23. All’s Well That End Well [II. v. 1348]
24. Merry Wives of Windsor [IV. iv. 2269-70]
25. As You Like It [II. iv. 729-30]
26. Henry VIII [II. iv. 1518]
27. Henry IV. P I [V. iv. 3073]
28. A Midsummer Night’s Dream [V. i. 2015]
29. Much Ado About Nothing [II. i. 426]
30. Macbeth [III. i. 1051]
31. Merry Wives of Windsor [IV. ii. 2055-56]
32. Comedy of Errors [V. i. 1436]
33. Anthony and Cleopatra [I. i. 16]
34. Julius Caesar [I. ii. 207]
35. Titus Andronicus [II. iii. 810]
36. Macbeth [I. iii. 140-41]
37. Pericles [II. i. 595]
38. Henry VI. P II [I. iii. 433]
39. Romeo and Juliet [IV. iii. 2549]
40. Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. xii. 2940]
41. Henry IV. P I [III. ii. 1960]
42. Merry Wives of Windsor [IV. iv. 2226]
43. Merry Wives of Windsor [III. iii. 1524]
44. Timon of Athens [I. ii. 582]
45. Taming of the Shrew [V. ii. 2589]
46. Henry IV. P II [II. iii. 1189]
47. Henry IV. P II [IV. ii. 2476]
48. Macbeth [II. i. 611]
49. The Tempest [I. ii. 189]
50. Hamlet [II. ii. 1456]
51. Sonnet 92 [2]
52. Henry VI. P II [III. ii. 1731]
53. Cymbeline [V. v. 3488]
54. Taming of the Shrew [II. i. 1195]
55. Pericles [V. i. 2323]
56. Comedy of Errors [V. i. 1430]

Shakespeare image: http://www.clipartmojo.com/shakespeare.html
Halloween image:  http://www.gograph.com/stock-illustration/tomb.html

What if Shakespeare…were a SPORTS COMMENTATOR?



A happy evening [1] and ye’re welcome all [2]. We first address toward you [3] that stay’d at home [4], and they that watch [5] from yonder [6] elsewhere / from me far off [7], a hundred thousand welcomes [8]. This great sport [9] is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage [10]. And mark thee [11] well worth watching [12].

And all that are assembled in this place [13] that wait [14] with bated breath [15], lend me your ears [16]. Hark! hark! what shout is that [17] among the crowd? [18] And, hark! they shout for joy [19]. Thus we are agreed [20] what sport tonight [21] you shall see [22].

Be the players ready? [23] Ajax is ready [24] And look you [25] Percy is already in the field [26]. With roaring voices [27] the shouting plebeians [28] bid the players make haste [29]. Hark, they roar! [30] loud shouts and salutations from their mouths [31]. Alas, what joy! [32] There are the players [33]. Aeneas is a-field [34.] At last, though long [35] now I see [36] Anthony is come into the field [37]. Then shall we have a match [38].

Ajax goes up and down the field [39]. On there, pass along! [40] He scores, he scores [41] This cheers my heart [42]. He knows the game [43] excellent well [44]. Hark, the game is roused! [45] Shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth’d sea [46].

And then begin again and stop again [47]. The match [48] is tied [49]. Methought that Gloucester stumbled [50]. They stumble that run fast [51]. Let’s see the penalty, [52] who takes it? [53] The thrice-victorious Lord of Falconbridge [54]. No no, it cannot be! [55] he hath miss’d [56]. The people in the street cry [57] you base football player [58].

And then the people fell a-shouting [59]. But where’s the great Alcides of the field, / Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury [61]. He has been yonder [61] on the bench [62]. And in all this time [63] why he, of all the rest, hath never moved [64]. With open outcry [65] the crowd [66] call him forth [67], a most gallant fellow [68] to win this easy match [69]. Here he comes [70] once more unto the breach [71]. Hark! do you not hear the / people cry [72] roaring louder than / the sea or weather [73].

It grows very late [74], the sport is at the best [75] when none can call [76] – who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out [77]. My heart leaps [78] breathless and faint [79], I cannot bring / my tongue to such a pace [80]. But look thee here [81] brave Talbot [82] how he outruns the wind and with what care / he cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles [83.]

The game is up! [84] Victorious Talbot [85] now hath won the day [86]. Didst thou not hear their shouts? [87] The ways of glory [88] would scarce make that be believed [89]. Renowned Talbot [90] he hath done well in people’s eyes, / hearing applause and universal shout, / giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt / whether these pearls of praise be his or no [91].

The games are done [92] This had been cheerful after victory [93]. O my soul’s joy! [94] I saw not better sport these seven years’ day [95]. A thousand thanks and [96] fare thee well [97]. In celebration of this day [98] applause and loving shout [99] shall be heard [100] through the streets [101]. Why, then, good night indeed [102].

Shakespeare – re-arranged by Linda Nicoll

1.        Two Gentlemen of Verona [V. i. 2056]

2.       Coriolanus [II. i. 1113]

3.       King Lear [I. i. 204]

4.       Pericles [II. iv. 553]

5.       Rape of Lucrece [1626]

6.       Henry VI P I [III. ii. 1466]

7.       Sonnet 61 [13-14]

8.       Coriolanus [II, i. 1114]

9.       Henry VIII [I. i. 88]

10.     Romeo and Juliet [Prologue 1, 12]

11.     Henry IV P I [II. iv. 1196]

12.     Cymbeline [II. iv. 1257]

13.     The Comedy of Errors [V. i. 1841]

14.     Two Gentlemen of Verona [IV. ii. 1770]

15.     The Merchant of Venice [I. iii. 451]

16.     Julius Caesar [III. Ii. 1617]

17.     Troilus and Cressida [V. ix. 3619]

18.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2481]

19.     Julius Caesar [V. iii. 2528]

20.     Anthony and Cleopatra II. vi. 1283

21.     Anthony and Cleopatra [I. ii. 57]

22.     All’s Well That Ends Well [III. Vi. 1824]

23.     Hamlet III. [I. i. 1986-87]

24.     Troilus and Cressida [III. iii. 1901]

25.     All’s Well That Ends Well [V. iii. 3032]

26.     Henry IV PI [IV. ii. 2443-44]

27.     King Lear [II. iii. 1265]

28.     Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. xii. 2942]

29.     Hamlet [III. ii. 1925]

30.     The Tempest [IV. i. 2008]

31.     Henry IV P I [III. ii. 1876]

32.     Henry VI P I [IV. iii. 2967]

33.     Hamlet [II. ii. 1452]

34.     Troilus and Cressida [V. iii. 3354]

35.     Taming of the Shrew [V. ii. 2489]

36.     All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iii. 492]

37.     Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. vi. 2713]

38.     All’s Well That Ends Well [V. iii. 2708]

39.     Troilus and Cressida [[III. iii. 2129]

40.     Anthony and Cleopatra [III. i. 1589]

41.     All’s Well That Ends Well [IV. iii. 2307]

42.     Henry VI P III [V. iv. 2870]

43.     Henry VI P III [III. ii. 1484]

44.     Hamlet [II. ii. 1279]

45.     Cymbeline [III. iii 1708]

46.     Henry V [V. Chorus, 2849]

47.     Richard III [III. v 2071]

48.     The Comedy of Errors [III. ii. 854]

49.     Sonnet 137 [8]

50.     Richard III [I. iv. 851]

51.     Romeo and Juliet [II. iii. 156]

52.     Love’s Labour’s Lost I. i. 126]

53.     Coriolanus [IV. vii. 3252]

54.     Henry VI P I [IV. vii. 2324]

55.     All’s Well That Ends Well [II. i. 601]

56.     Cymbeline [I. i. 20]

57.     Romeo and Juliet [V. iii. 3164]

58.     King Lear [I. iv. 615]

59.     Julius Caesar [I. ii. 315]

60.     Henry VI P I [IV. vii. 2317-18]

61.     Twelfth Night [II. v. 1043-44]

62.     Timon of Athens [IV. iii. 1702]

63.     As You Like It [IV. i.1877]

64.     Two Gentlemen of Verona [I. ii. 177]

65.     Romeo and Juliet [V. iii. 3166]

66.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2481]

67.     Henry IV P I [V. ii. 1517]

68.     All’s Well That Ends Well [III. v. 1701]

69.     King John [III. I 1264]

70.     Coriolanus [II. iii. 1462]

71.     Henry V [III. i. 1092]

72.     Troilus and Cressida [I. ii. 372-73]

73.     The Winter’s Tale [III. iii 1596-97]

74.     Romeo and Juliet [III. iii. 2045]

75.     Romeo and Juliet [I. v. 748]

76.     Macbeth [V. i. 2162]

77.     King Lear [V. iii. 3138]

78.     Pericles [V. iii. 2573]

79.     Henry IV P I [I. iii. 357]

80.     Coriolanus [II. iii. 1476-77]

81.     The Winter’s Tale [III. iii. 1606]

82.     Henry VI P I [II. i. 694-95]

83.     Venus and Adonis [703-4]

84.     Cymbeline [III. iii 1708]

85.     Henry VI P I [II. iii. 900]

86.     Henry VI P III [IV. iv. 2257]

87.     Julius Caesar [V. iii. 2594]

88.     Henry VIII [III. ii. 2349]

89.     All’s Well That Ends Well [IV. i. 1959]

90.     Henry VI P I [IV. iii. 2039]

91.     The Merchant of Venice [III. ii. 1512-15]

92.     Julius Caesar [I. ii. 269]

93.     Henry IV P II [IV. ii. 2535]

94.     Othello [II. i. 975]

95.     Henry VI P II [II. i. 728]

96.     Henry V [IV. iv. 2429]

97.     All’s Well That Ends Well [II. i. 745]

98.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2389]

99.     Richard III [III. vii. 2240]

100.   King John [I. i. 28]

101.   Anthony and Cleopatra [I. i. 64]

102.   Anthony and Cleopatra [III. x. 2099]

What if Shakespeare…were HARRY POTTER?

Happy Birthday Harry!

We love Shakespeare, we love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and we could not resist.

‘Tis time to celebrate them together!

[Outside Hogwarts.  Harry, wearing his invisibility cloak, attended by Ron and Hermione]

HARRY:  [To Hermione] ‘Tis time / …Lend thy hand, / And pluck my magic garment from me.  So: [Lays down his invisibility cloak, revealing himself] / Lie there, my art (1).

VOLDEMORT:  Show me [the] one scar character’d on thy skin / …flesh preserved so whole do seldom win (2).

HARRY:  He jests at scars that never felt a wound (3).  [Our wands] are birds of the selfsame feather (4): Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere; / Nor can [the wizard world] brook a double reign, / of Harry [Potter] and [Lord Voldemort] (5).

VOLDEMORT:  I bear a charmed life, which must not yield (6).  Sumbit thee, boy (7).

HARRY:  [Dumbledore’s] soul / Is but a little way above our heads, / Staying for thine to keep him company: / Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him (8).

VOLDEMORT:  Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here, / Shalt with him hence! (9)  Come basilisk, / And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight; / For in the shades of death I shall find joy (10).

HARRY:  Men for their sons, wives for their husbands, / And orphans for their parents’ timeless death – / Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born. / The owl shriek’d at thy birth, – an evil sign. (11).  When every feather sticks in his own wing, / Lord [Voldemort] will be left a naked gull, / Which flashes now a phoenix! (12)

[The battle ensues…]

HARRY:  A feather will turn the scale (13).  [Fawkes criesHarry strikes.]  There stand, [Voldemort disintegrates] / For thou art spell-stopped (14).

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series; Shakespeare re-arranged by Laboni Islam

1)  The Tempest, I.ii, 111-113

2)  Henry VI, Part II; III.i; 1585-1586

3)  Romeo & Juliet, II.i, 845

4)  Henry VI, Part III; III.iii, 1858

5)  Henry IV, Part I; V.iv; 3023-3025

6)  Macbeth, V.viii, 2489

7)  King John, II.i, 455

8)  Romeo & Juliet, III.i, 1635-1637

9)  Romeo & Juliet, III.i, 1638-1639

10)  Henry VI, Part II; III.ii; 1733-1735

11)  Henry VI, Part III; V.vi; 3036-3039

12)  Timon of Athens, II.i, 658-660

13)  Measure for Measure, IV.ii, 1912-1913

14)  The Tempest, V.i, 2089-2090