Shakespeares Sonnets, Retold: Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist Audiobook, by William Shakespeare Play Audiobook Sample

Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold: Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist Audiobook

Shakespeares Sonnets, Retold: Classic Love Poems with a Modern Twist Audiobook, by William Shakespeare Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Stephen Fry, Paapa Essiedu, James Anthony Publisher: Penguin Random House Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 3.33 hours at 1.5x Speed 2.50 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: November 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781984842886

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

04:51 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

21 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

01:56 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


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Publisher Description

An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand


James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare’s sonnets, yet he often found their abstract language frustratingly unintelligible. One day, out of curiosity, he rewrote Sonnet 18—Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day—line-by-line, in the strict five-beat iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of the original, but in a contemporary language a modern reader could easily understand. The meaning and sentiment—difficult to spot, initially—came to life, revealing new intricacies in the workings of Shakespeare's heart.


And so, James embarked on a full-time, year-long project to rewrite all 154 of the Bard's eternal verses creating SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS, RETOLD. This collection of masterful reinterpretations brilliantly demystifies and breathes new life into Shakespeare's work, demonstrating the continued resonance of a playwright whose popularity remains over 400 years after his death. Now, the passion, heartbreak, deception, reconciliation, and mortality of Shakespeare’s originals can be understood by all, without the need to cross reference to an enjoyment-sapping study-guide. Coming with a foreword by Stephen Fry, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems made new.

Read by Paapa Essiedu, James Anthony, and Stephen Fry

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“Listeners first encountering Shakespeare’s sonnets may have trouble with the language. Fortunately, James Anthony (who also introduces this audiobook) has put all of them into modern idiomatic English. After some explanatory notes by actor/novelist/poet Stephen Fry and an introduction by Anthony, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Paapa Essiedu narrates each original sonnet, followed by Fry’s narration of Anthony’s retelling. Essiedu leans toward understatement, letting listeners find their own meanings. Fry emphasizes the interpretations that Anthony has stressed in his versions. Purists will probably not like the modernization of these classics, but Anthony’s versions will help many enter the world of our language’s greatest poet. If only for that, he—and his excellent narrators—deserve our copious thanks. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

— AudioFile 


  • A dazzling success…. Aside from the pleasure any reader can derive from this achievement, schools and colleges will stamp and cheer with unrestrained gratitude and delight.

    — Stephen Fry


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Authors

William Shakespeare (1564–1616), English poet and dramatist of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period, is the most widely known author in all of English literature and often considered the greatest. He was an active member of a theater company for at least twenty years, during which time he wrote many great plays. Plays were not prized as literature at the time, and Shakespeare was not widely read until the middle of the eighteenth century, when a great upsurge of interest in his works began that continues today.

About Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is a celebrated actor, novelist, journalist, presenter, intellectual, wit, and winner of several award for narration. He has produced four novels and two volumes of autobiography and has written for radio shows and television. His television credits include Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder, and he hosted the BBC TV series QI.