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About the book
  • Published: 29 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9780753553138
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $24.99

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Retold

Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist




Fall in love with Shakespeare’s Sonnets, rewritten in modern English – reworked, retold and reimagined.

'James Anthony has done something I would have confidently stated to be impossible. He has "translated" Shakespeare’s sonnets and he has done so with an insolent, loveable charm … A dazzling success’ – Stephen Fry

Rediscover the greatest love poetry ever written

Shall I compare you to a summer’s day?
You’re more delightful, always shining strong;
High winds blow hard on flowering buds in May,
And summer never seems to last that long


Shakespeare’s sonnets are some of the nation’s favourite lines of verse, but the Elizabethan language can make it difficult to really understand them. Many guides offer to clarify the meaning, but lose the magic of the words by explaining them away.

James Anthony has done something boldly different.

He has rewritten the whole series of poems as sonnets using modern language, while retaining the rhythm and rhyme patterns that gives them such power. In doing so he breathes new life into the original poems and opens them up for a modern readership, demystifying Shakespeare’s eternal poetry with provocative new translations and delightful new lines.

Presented as an attractive book with the original sonnets facing their new translations, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems, made new.

  • Pub date: 29 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9780753553138
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Authors

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and was baptised on 26 April 1564. His father was a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-to-do local land owner. Shakespeare was probably educated in Stratford’s grammar school. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter the following year and twins in 1585.

Shakespeare’s theatrical life seems to have commenced around 1590. We do know that he was part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Company, which was renamed the King’s Company in 1603 when James I succeeded to the throne. The Company acquired interests in two theatres in the Southwark area of London, near the banks of the Thames - the Globe and the Blackfriars.

Shakespeare’s poetry was published before his plays, with two poems appearing in 1593 and 1594, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. Most of Shakespeare’s sonnets were probably written at this time as well.

Records of Shakespeare’s plays begin to appear in 1594, and he produced roughly two a year until around 1611. His earliest plays include Henry VI and Titus Andronicus. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Richard II all date from the mid to late 1590s. Some of his most famous tragedies were written in the early 1600s; these include Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and Antony & Cleopatra. His late plays, often known as the Romances, date from 1608 onwards and include The Tempest.

Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623 and is known as ‘the First Folio’.

James Anthony

James Anthony was born in Essex, and studied Manufacturing Engineering at University. He worked for many years for the Ford Motor Company and has founded a range of procurement start-ups. By night, he writes poetry.


Praise for Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Retold

“James Anthony has done something I would have confidently stated to be impossible. He has ‘translated’ Shakespeare’s sonnets and he has done so with an insolent, loveable charm … A dazzling success”

Stephen Fry


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