In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard had the clever idea of retelling Hamlet from the point of view of two of its minor characters. Even before that, James Thurber addressed the problem of The Macbeth Murder Mystery, treating Shakespeare's Scottish tragedy as if it were an Agatha Christie whodunit. It turns out that Macbeth and his good lady were falsely blamed for the death of King Duncan, the real murderer being absolutely the least likely character. Similarly, the 1950s film Forbidden Planet gave a science-fiction twist to The Tempest, even as the musical West Side Story copied and updated the plot of Romeo and Juliet.
As the king of dramatists, Shakespeare has long invited every form of pastiche, parody and general lèse-majesté. But to turn the darkly depressing King Lear into a comedy requires more than ordinary chutzpah. Yet who better to give it a try than Christopher Moore, author of the famously outrageous and funny Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. As Moore's prefatorial "Warning" to Fool explicitly states, the result is "a bawdy tale." Very bawdy. We're talking country matters here, the beast with two backs, coxcombs and poxes, scullions and cullions, all the most intimate body fluids and exudations.
Causes Christopher Moore Supports
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