The Seven Ages of Man, described by William Shakespeare; depicted by Robert Smirke
- Shakespeare, William

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Commentary

This slim volume pairs extracts from the ‘All the world’s a stage’ monologue in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1599-1600) with albumen print reproductions of paintings by Robert Smirke (1752-1845). The book takes Shakespeare’s ‘seven ages of man’ and pairs each with one of Smirke’s paintings. Extracting the monologue from the play, the editor of this volume treats it as a short poem, depicting its images as theatrical tableaux. In photopoetic terms, the volume is of questionable importance given both the nature of the photographs (reproductions of works of art) and the arbitrary, literalising nature of the relationship between text and image (hence the subtitle of the book: The Seven Ages of Man: Described.)

The volume is, however, one of the earliest photopoetic books published by Lionel Booth, who would become one of the most important British publishers in late nineteenth-century photopoetry, publishing Fairylife and Fairyland (1870) among other volumes.

Book Details

Author: Shakespeare, William
Title: The Seven Ages of Man, described by William Shakespeare; depicted by Robert Smirke
Publication Year: 1864
Poets Featured: Shakespeare, William
Photographers Featured: Smirke, Robert
Subjects: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Illustrations
Photographic process: Albumen prints

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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