The Complete Works of Shakespeare published in tag format

A prolific West Midlands blogger has revolutionised the way that the world’s major works of literature are displayed today, by publishing the entire canon of playwright William Shakespeare in metadata tag form.

‘Studying Shakespeare at school was both difficult and boring,’ claims Robert Crossley, Dudley-born author of completeworksofshakespeare.wordpress.com. ‘But by breaking down his stuff into non-hierarchical keywords it is much easier to understand what’s going on – plus there’s the advantage that tags are searchable, so you can skip the boring bits and go straight to the juicy murders.’

A typical example of Crossley’s ‘tagging’ is Shakespeare’s timeless romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, which been reduced to just nine tags (separated by commas): ‘Montague’, ‘Capulet’, ‘Verona’, ‘star crossed lovers’, ‘balcony scene’, ‘secret marriage’, ‘vile submission’, ‘coma’ and finally ‘suicide’. ‘You can read these tags in a list,’ Crossley reveals, ‘but for a much richer literary experience, check out the floating Javascript tag cloud, in which ‘balcony scene’ appears in a much larger font than the other keywords, thus boiling down this famous play into just a single metatag. Plus you can also move the words around, thus creating your own stories, which is pretty cool.’

Other works to be given the blogging tag treatment include Macbeth, that unsettling tale of ambition, bloodshed and madness, which is now pared down to the key-phrases ‘Scottish play’, ‘Thane of Cawdor’, ‘witches’, ‘prophecy’, ‘murder’, ‘is this a dagger I see before me’, ‘King of Scotland’, ‘spectre’, ‘washing hands’, ‘camouflage’, ‘battle’; and whimsical comedy The Tempest (‘Stranded’, ‘desert island’, ‘airy spirit’, ‘magic storm’, ‘shipwreck’, ‘three men of sin’, ‘reconciliation’, ‘why the hell do they call this crap a comedy anyway’.)

With the complete works of Shakespeare under his belt, Crossley has now set his sights on some of the other literary greats, including Leo Tolstoy’s seminal War and Peace (‘war’, ‘peace’), James Joyce’s Ulysses (‘no idea’) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (‘cobblers’).

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Published in: on June 10, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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