Sceptre has acquired a cultural, historical and literary exploration of the birth, death and legacy of Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet.
Searching for Juliet is authored by Dr Sophie Duncan, a fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford, and expert on Shakespeare in performance and in the broader fields of theatre history.
In the book, according to Sceptre, she takes readers from the Renaissance origin story behind Shakespeare’s 13-year-old child bride, to the sexual revolutionary of '60s film and theatre, from the African slave girls named after a fictional teenager to the legacy of the beautiful dead girl trope in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary TV series such as "13 Reasons Why".
Associate publisher Juliet Brooke bought world rights from Georgina Capel, commenting: "I obviously have a certain bias with this subject that proves to me quite how much Juliet’s legacy reaches beyond literature into our social mores. What makes Sophie’s proposal so exceptional is the incredible range and depth of her exploration: the legacy of a heroine such as Juliet encompasses everything from feminism to scholarly insight on Shakespeare’s text, from a portrait of the Shakespeare industry in Stratford to questioning gender norms. It’s also fantastically sharp and witty and a total joy to read."
Duncan said she was bowled over by the enthusiasm and vision of the team at Sceptre and remarked her new editor's name was "a great omen".
"Shakespeare’s first and most extraordinary tragic heroine has had an astonishing history, involving everyone from feuding London celebrities to enslaved Africans in the British Caribbean," she said of her book's subject. "From Italian shrines to Broadway musicals, this is a story I’m excited to tell."
Searching for Juliet will be published in hardback by Sceptre in spring 2023.