Othello

Julius Lester, Author, William Shakespeare, Author, Julius Lester, Adapted by
Julius Lester, Author, William Shakespeare, Author, Julius Lester, Adapted by Scholastic $14.95 (151p) ISBN 978-0-590-41967-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 166 pages - 978-0-590-41966-6
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-13009-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-08497-0
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More than a retelling, this aptly termed ""reconceptualization"" provocatively modernizes Shakespeare's play. As in the original, the middle-aged general Othello the ``moor'' and young European noblewoman Desdemona fall in love and marry secretly. But Lester (To Be a Slave; John Henry) transplants the action from Venice and Cyprus to Elizabethan England and turns Iago and Emily into Africans like Othello, so that the three of them share a distinctly non-European point of view. Iago's envy of Othello and ability to whip him into a jealous rage at Desdemona are thus cast in a new light, though the tragic outcome remains the same. While the ending feels abrupt, Lester's novel succeeds in holding up a mirror to contemporary society. Phrases and passages directly based on Shakespeare's language are printed in a different typeface, a device that may distract the reader but eases comparisons with the original work. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
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