Reading lists

Great expectations: 7 books featuring pregnancy

From unorthodox childbirth in Roman mythology to contemporary dystopian visions of a world where fertility is for sale, we take a look at the history of pregnancy in literature.

The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
'The work of Shakespeare is virtually infinite' Jorge Luis Borges

A jealous king, convinced that his wife has been unfaithful and is having another man's baby, imprisons her and puts her on trial. The child is abandoned to die, but when she is found and raised by a shepherd, it seems redemption may be possible. A bravura blend of tragedy, comedy and romance, Shakespeare's emotionally potent late play explores artifice and nature, mortality and renewal, and the destructive and consoling effects of time.

Used and Recommended by the National Theatre

General Editor Stanley Wells
Edited by Ernest Schanzer
Introduction by Russ McDonald
'A supreme theatrical poem that has a language that eats into the soul' Michael Billington, Guardian

Shakeapeare's blood-soaked drama of murder, madness and the uncanny begins as Macbeth is promised a golden future as ruler of Scotland by supernatural forces. Spurred on by his wife, he murders the king to ensure his ambitions come true. But he soon learns the meaning of terror - killing once, he must kill again and again, while the dead return to haunt him. Macbeth is an anatomy of fear and a bleak portrayal of what some will do to achieve their desires.

General Introduction by STANLEY WELLS

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more