The Sterling Signature Shakespeare Series

Literature is a form of art - of course it is. It stimulates us in much the same way that visual art does. Often literature can remind us of visual art, and often the visual works can draw us back to our favorite pieces of literature. Sterling Publishing recently, and very kindly, sent me two books from their new Sterling Signature Shakespeare imprint, a series that marries visual art with the majesty of literature. In it Shakespeare's greatest works are meticulously curated into gorgeous new editions, complimented by the laser paper cutting technique of artist Kevin Jay Stanton; the result is an exquisite collector's piece for lovers of art and literature alike. I'm thrilled to have the first two titles in the collection, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. Here's a further look at the detail - in this case, accurately so, the pictures do all the talking.

The volumes include partial dust-jackets that add a wonderful pop of color to the aesthetic, but they're also removable to showcase the full artistry of the covers. Stanton's paper technique is applied to the covers as well as pages throughout the book, but the technique is also mimicked in print throughout the book, which creates a theme of art and keeps it tied together beautifully.

I'm very much a Shakespeare enthusiast, so it's needless to say that these books are a treasure to me. The language and format of the Bard's plays maintain their authenticity while the publishers have added discreet editorial points to encourage the reader's understanding, making the books great for veterans and newcomers alike. They're beautifully large editions, featuring thorough and insightful introductions with yet more illustrations; if you're a Shakespeare, literature, and/or art enthusiast as I am you'll want to keep them out on your coffee table or anywhere that they might be able to serve as conversation pieces - because you'll definitely want to tell people about them. Stanton's ability with paper art is marvelous, his contributions to the books will absolutely enchant anyone who browses the pages, whether they have an inclination toward Shakespeare or not. And for those who know the plays, his art captures those scenes which we remember so well and displays them in an entirely new kind of beauty. Shakespeare himself, I'm sure, would be proud.

The Sterling Signature Shakespeare collection now also includes Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing among its titles, and all can be purchased through Sterling Publishing for $29.95.

Disclosure: These books were a gift from Sterling Publishing, though I was not obligated or compensated to provide a review; my opinions are my own.