Howard Jacobson, British author who won the 2010 Man Booker Prize for his Jewish-themed novel The Finkler Question, has been commissioned to rewrite The Merchant of Venice in prose, according to The Jewish Chronicle.
Publisher Penguin Random House asked Jacobson to undertake the work as part of a series marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Chronicle reports.
“For an English novelist who also happens to be Jewish, The Merchant of Venice is where it all snarls up,” Jacobson told the Chronicle. “Only a fool would think he has anything to add to Shakespeare. But Shakespeare probably never met a Jew, the Holocaust had not yet happened, and antisemitism didn’t have a name. Can one tell the same story today, when every reference carries a different charge? There’s the challenge. I quake before it.”
Mr Jacobson’s version of the play is due to published in 2016, the Chronicle says.