Venus & Adonis

By William Shakespeare. Translated by Hafid Bouazza
Illustrated by Marlene Dumas
Athenaeum|David Zwirner Books
Hardcover, 144 pages, 33 b&w, English|Dutch
Price: $30 | £25
Venus & Adonis © David Zwirner Books, Photograph by Kyle Knodell

At once comic, tragic, and erotic, Venus & Adonis (1593) is a poem by William Shakespeare based on passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It tells the story of Venus, the goddess of love, and her attempts to seduce the hunter Adonis. It is a complex, kaleidoscopic work in which love takes center stage - Venus's lustful yearning for Adonis ripples throughout, each stanza and line tinged with unrequited longing.

This new translation by Hafid Bouazza of Shakespeare's text is illustrated by a complete suite of thirty-two works on paper by Marlene Dumas, the renowned painter celebrated for her highly charged depictions of the human form. With her series of expressive ink washes, Dumas paints new passion into the poem and desire in all its heady intensity.

Co-published by Athenaeum and David Zwirner Books as an English/Dutch edition, the book is a striking yet beautiful paradox - a marriage of text and image that is as sensual, fleshy, and carnal as it is unnerving and disturbing.