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Huzzah! Touch Press Brings Shakespeare’s Sonnets to the iPad
Posted: 03 Jul 2012 06:42 AM PDT at Padgadget
In our quick-as-lightning digital world, poetry may seem quaint and irrelevant to many. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare, created by UK-based developer Touch Press, proves those sentiments wrong.
The Sonnets guide users through all of the aspects of this enduring poetic form. The app includes so much more than a just Shakespeare’s 154 poems. It’s a revamped version of the Arden edition, that adds a reproduction of the 1609 Quarto, Arden Shakespeare’s notes and introduction, as well as commentary from a variety of experts, and as the pièce de résistance: performances of each sonnet by a diverse group of talented actors.
Sonnets crack open the poem’s tough linguistic shell, so readers can enjoy the kernel within. The Perspectives section defines the sonnet, and adds context that allow the reader to place Shakespeare’s work within the form’s poetic tradition. To the app’s credit, the commentary doesn’t solely comprise the thoughts of erudite academics. Poet Don Paterson‘s commentary is particularly accessible and relevant. His thoughts on Sonnet 130, the oft-taught “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;” will surprise and engage readers.
The performances include readings by Dominic West (The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty, check him out in the clip below), Patrick Stewart, Steven Fry, as well as a host of Shakespearean actors. The performances are paired with the text, so the reader can follow along.
Readers can choose how much or how little outside commentary they wish to have while exploring the Sonnets. Since Shakespeare is often canonized as the history’s greatest English writer, it’s easy to forget that opinions on his work and forms vary, but the app’s commentary and performances serve as a reminder that a modern reader’s ability to interpret Shakespeare helps to keep his work relevant. A reader can also add his own notes, and share sonnets outside the app through email, Twitter, and Facebook.
As an app, The Sonnets tackle its subject from multiple angles, but regardless of the direction the reader moves, the aim is to make sure the reader understands Shakespeare’s poems better than he did before he opened the app. Whether the reader spends minutes, hours, or days exploring the content, he is sure to learn something.
Download the Sonnets by William Shakespeare from the App Store for $13.99.
Review from Padgadet:
Liked: The performance section stands out from the many wonderful features of the Sonnets. The performances remind the user that poetry is a fundamentally oral tradition. Listening to the wide range of actors who contributed to the app was a pleasure.
Didn’t like: Like the rest of Touch Press’ remarkable oeuvre, Sonnets is a large file (1.37 GB), yet it was worth every bit of digital space.
To buy or not to buy: Regardless of age, any student of the English language will learn from The Sonnets. Even though the app is one of the App Store’s pricier offerings, it remains a good value. As the use of iPads in education continues to grow, apps such as The Sonnets provide a compelling reason for a teacher to bring the iPad into the classroom.
In her Royal Collection at Windsor, Queen Elizabeth has a collection of drawings of human anatomy, done by Leonardo da Vinci, each of which has been digitalized and included in the Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy app by Touch Press.
This amazing app includes the 268 pages from da Vinci’s notebooks, in high resolution, which looks fantastic on Apple’s third generation iPad. For the first time, iPad owners can explore the scientific and artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci right on their iPads.
When opening the app, you’ll be taken to the table of contents, which displays the story of da Vinci, from his origins to his scientific research, along with a section for all of his famous drawings.
The background of the app is gorgeous, in an aged parchment color that fits in perfectly with the content. The story of da Vinci and the information available in the app is well written, straight forward, and easy to read. You can use this app in landscape or portrait mode, though it functions better in landscape mode.
There’s quite a bit of content to go through, so expect to spend quite a few hours with this app. I know I did. Many people know that da Vinci was a gifted painter, but are unaware of his other interests. This app gets into the depths of his character and his love of science, making it the perfect app for students learning about da Vinci, or adults who want to know more about his life.
Navigating through the app is a simple task. Scrolling down will allow you to automatically progress through each chapter, and when you reach the end of a chapter, it will transition to the next one.
Every chapter comes with pictures that can be tapped to view larger, and a video that is embedded into the page. You can tap to pause it and to play it again. There are a total of eleven chapters filled with content, and in when you’ve read everything, you can transition to viewing all of the drawings.
The drawings are separated into sections, including animal studies, early works, chalk, pen and ink, and ultra violet light, among others. You can choose to browse by these sections, or flip through all of the drawings at once.
Each drawing is presented in its original form, but also accompanied by a translation so that you can read the text on each page. There’s also a mirror function that will decode da Vinci’s famous mirror writing, where he wrote backwards. Reading through da Vinci’s notebook is truly fascinating, and this is app is perfect for anyone with even an inkling of interest in his drawings.
What I liked: This app is cleverly designed, and I loved the way that it integrated media, like video, seamlessly into each page. I also enjoyed the interactive drawings.
What I didn’t like: This app is enormous. It’s a 1.70GB download, which takes up a lot of space on the iPad. I suppose that can’t be helped though, with so many gorgeous, high resolution drawings.
To buy or not to buy: This app is great for students and adults alike. It’s a must have for anyone that’s fascinated with the works of Leonardo da Vinci.
App Name: Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Developer: Touch Press
Time-Lapse footage. You can click on the speed of the video. Watch ‘Solar Dynamics’, “Ocean Chlorophyll’, ‘Plant Growth’ or ‘Bees’ among others.
Note: This site only works on Google Chrome and Apple Safari browsers.
Padgadget revisits a middle school after using the iPad for 5 months.
Yes, I know this is a middle school iPad usage review – but maybe some of these can be adapted to college level, enjoyed by your kids/grandkids, or put to use by the Education majors.
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Next time you read a novel, pay attention to all the references to celebrities, books, foods and even clothing brands. There could be many more than you might expect.
Intrigued? Check out Small Demons (free sign up required) An online database of the people, places and things referenced in literature throughout the ages.
I typed in Vivaldi – he was referenced in 2 books. I typed in Pepsi – it got more than 500 nods.
Padgadget has a review on an app adaptation of some of E. A. Poe’s works. From the review: “… a Spanish developer Play Creatividad‘s offering iPoe – The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection is of such high quality that it underscores the strength of Poe’s material, while highlighting the strengths of reading a digital, interactive story.” The app is $3.99 – here is the link to the App Store.