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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Brave new words -- and pictures

Ariel and Caliban

A worthy Italian publisher, orecchio acerbo ("a still very young ear"), just made available a children's version of Shakespeare's play The Tempest based on the 1807 book Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Ann Lamb. Finely translated by Attilio and Maria Grazia Carapezza. Mary Lamb, who adapted The Tempest among other works, had a culturally rich while very hard life (see), including contacts with S. T. Coleridge, and a deep family stress that finally led her to murder her own mother and be interned in an asylum for some periods. Her literary efforts proved successful, but were usually ascribed to her brother until recent times. This Italian edition is also remarkable because of the pictures made by one of the top illustrators of the moment, Fabian Negrin. The pictures are very big, to be unfolded on four pages, and show some key-episodes of the play immersing them in atmospheres that are, at the same time, magic and realistic. Surely not Elizabethan is the choice to portray Miranda naked.