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The Global Hamlet and Muse of Fire | Bard in Multimedia

By November 24, 2014 No Comments

The Global Hamlet will be a living book, the people’s annotated and illustrated edition of Hamlet, a digital, online book where readers become its writers.

“The goal is to create a living book that is constantly changed and updated and enhanced by its users,” says Simone Barillari, the international project’s creator. After many years working in Italy’s publishing industry, Barillari says, he “realized that digital books” are seen and created as if they are paper books. “We have to get out of this mindset. Digital books can be so much more” by interweaving text, sounds, and images.

Barillari sees the merging of the reader as the writer as a new future for books. The Democracy of the Internet allows us to more easily tap into the world’s collective intelligence. “Everyone from all back grounds can annotate Hamlet and can translate it into another language,” says Barillari. “The submissions, with the help of the project’s editors, will become a part of the global text.”

Simone Barillari (left) and Nefeli Misuraca are the creators of The Global Hamlet.

Simone Barillari (left) and Nefeli Misuraca are the creators of The Global Hamlet.

Many more “living books” are being planned by Barillari and his partner Nefeli Misuraca: Dante’s Inferno, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and more. So why is Hamlet the first one to be chosen? “It’s the most popular work of literature of the Western world,” says Barillari. It is the most staged play of the western canon with hundreds of millions of readers. After the Bible, it is the most annotated text in Western literature. All this makes it perfect for this project.

The Global Hamlet will launch in spring of 2015. Prior to the launch, Barillari will discuss the project on TEDx in Oxford, England January 18. As a scholar, Barillari has translated and annotated many classics including works by Stevenson, Conrad, Hemingway, Jack London. Most recently he has translated Conrad’s The Shadow Line.

“The idea of The Global Hamlet is to ask people to view the Internet as a field to cultivate,” says Barillari. “The Internet is the global mind. A person who reads and studies and writes is cultivating his mind.”

Muse of Fire documentary:

The Muse of Fire documentary is now available on Vimeo and iTunes.

The Muse of Fire documentary is now available on Vimeo and iTunes.

Actors Dan Poole and Giles Terera’s award-winning documentary Muse of Fire is now available for download on Vimeo and iTunes. The two actors traveled the globe to interview actors, directors, theater goers, students, and more to learn how they tackle the Bard’s work. Their list of interviewees reads like a who’s who of Shakespeare performance: Mark Rylance, Judi Dench, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Derek Jacobi, Julie Taymor, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw, Alan Rickman, Baz Luhrmann, Zoë Wanamaker, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Christopher Eccleston, Simon Russell Beale, Sir Nick Hytner, Peter Hall, Melvyn Bragg, Toby Stephens, Frances Barber, Rory Kinnear, Dominic Dromgoole, Sandy Foster and more.

The Raindance Film Festival declares: “If you never understood Shakespeare, watch this film!” But this really limits who might wish to watch it. It’s really for anyone interested in the acting process, theatrical performance, and the performance of Shakespeare’s works.

Deborah Voorhees writes reviews, features, and a weekly column Bard in Multimedia that publishes each Monday and covers books, films, recordings, web content, videos, video games, radio, television, and all emerging mediums. Send press releases and comments to the Associate Editor for Multimedia, Deborah Voorhees at

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