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A Midsummer Night's Dream (The Pelican Shakespeare) Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140714553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140714555
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is wonderfully lucid and thoughtful, offering supporting material that will appeal to readers from high school students to scholars. The introduction is especially thoughtful, offering, in addition to expected discussions of love, magic and imagination, an exploration of the theatrical history. The bibliography and filmography are both detailed and helpful, and the questions guide students to consider the play from many viewpoints without ever forcing an interpretation onto them.
- Annalisa Castaldo, Widener University



Even as the New Kittredge Shakespeare series glances back to George Lyman Kittredge's student editions of the plays, it is very much of our current moment: the slim editions are targeted largely at high school and first-year college students who are more versed in visual than in print culture. Not only are the texts of the plays accompanied by photographs or stills from various stage and cinema performances: the editorial contributions are performance-oriented, offering surveys of contemporary film interpretations, essays on the plays as performance pieces, and an annotated filmography. Traditional editorial issues (competing versions of the text, cruxes, editorial emendation history) are for the most part excluded; the editions focus instead on clarifying the text with an eye to performing it. There is no disputing the pedagogic usefulness of the New Kittredge Shakespeare's performance-oriented approach. At times, however, it can run the risk of treating textual issues as impediments, rather than partners, to issues of performance. This is particularly the case with a textually vexed play such as Pericles: Prince of Tyre. In the introduction to the latter, Jeffrey Kahan notes the frequent unintelligibility of the play as originally published: "the chances of a reconstructed text matching what Shakespeare actually wrote are about 'nil'" (p. xiii) But his solution — to use a "traditional text" rather than one corrected as are the Oxford and Norton Pericles — obscures how this "traditional text," including its act and scene division, is itself a palimpsest produced through three centuries of editorial intervention. Nevertheless, the series does a service to its target audience with its emphasis on performance and dramaturgy. Kahan's own essay about his experiences as dramaturge for a college production of Pericles is very good indeed, particularly on the play's inability to purge the trace of incestuous desire that Pericles first encounters in Antioch. Other plays' cinematic histories: Annalisa Castaldo's edition of Henry V contrasts Laurence Oliver's and Branagh's film productions; Samuel Crowl's and James Wells's edition of (respectively) I and 2 Henry IV concentrate on Welle's Chimes at Midnight and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho; Patricia Lennox's edition of As You Like It offers an overview of four Hollywood and British film adaptations; and John R. Ford's edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream provides a spirited survey of the play's rich film history.

The differences between, and comparative merits of, various editorial series are suggested by the three editions of The Taming of the Shrew published this year. Laury Magnus's New Kittredge Shakespeare edition is, like the other New Kittredge volumes, a workable text for high school and first year college students interested in film and theater. The introduction elaborates on one theme — Elizabethan constructions of gender — and offers a very broad performance history, focusing on Sam Taylor's and Zeffirelli's film versions as well as adaptations such as Kiss Me Kate and Ten Things I Hate About You (accompanied by a still of ten hearthtrobs Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles). The volume is determined to eradicate any confusion that a first time reader of the play might experience: the dramatis personae page explains that "Bianca Minola" is "younger daughter to Baptista, wooed by Lucentio-in-disguise (as Cambio) and then wife to him, also wooed by the elderly Gremio and Hortensio-in-disguise (as Licio)" (p.1). Other editorial notes, based on Kittredge's own, are confined mostly to explaining individual words and phrases: additional footnotes discuss interpretive choices made by film and stage productions. Throughout, the editorial emphasis is on the play less as text than as performance piece, culminating in fifteen largely performance-oriented "study questions" on topics such as disguise, misogyny, and violence.

Studies in English Literature, Tudor and Stuart Drama, Volume 51, Spring 2011, Number 2, pages 497-499.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Appropriate for all level of Shakespeare courses, including courses on Shakespeare, or drama, or Renaissance drama as taught in departments of English, courses in Shakespeare or drama taught in departments of theater, Great Books programs where individual volumes might be used, or high school level courses.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

It has been written very well and is a funny story.
fharold
It's neither the best nor worst of Shakespeare's many comedies, but "A Midsummer Night's Dream" definitely holds one honor -- it's the most fantastical of his works.
E. A Solinas
Russ McDonald's comments in the introduction are very helpful.
Mark C. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Anne Wingate on October 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JMLOJU/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_img

A piece of magic on the stage or screen--or on the electronic paper!

This is probably Shakespeare's most delightful comedy, and I'm glad I have read it in several editions and seen various versions of the play on large screen, small screen, and stage. I wish schools would teach this instead of trying to get the kids to understand Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar. Even if they don't understand this one, they can tell that it's fun and somewhat vulgar, with Bottom running around in an ass's head and the Queen of the Fairies falling in temporary love with him. "Fairy" might not yet have had its most recent meaning, but Bottom in an ass's head suggested exactly the same thing then that it suggests now

While I was getting my doctorate in English, my Shakespeare teacher worshiped Shakespeare instead of enjoying it for what it was worth. She almost went ballistic when somebody pointed out vulgarities and slapstick in the plays, because we too were supposed to worship Shakespeare instead of analyzing him. Sorry, but I was right and she was wrong. Shakespeare was a very bawdy writer, and he enjoyed being bawdy.

DO NOT see the movie Dead Poet's Society without reading or watching this play first.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By DLH on January 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
i read this, and i just fell in love with it. i think this has become my favorite book or whatever it's concidered as of all time! i love how it's set up on this; it makes it very pleasing to read with a simple layout for it. some of his other plays on the kindle are set up in a more confusing way, but this one is jsut right. i cannot wait until we do julius caeser in my english class!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By fharold on September 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a delightful book. A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most magical, romantic and comedic plays. It has been written very well and is a funny story. It revolves around 3 different and enjoyable plots all woven together.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's neither the best nor worst of Shakespeare's many comedies, but "A Midsummer Night's Dream" definitely holds one honor -- it's the most fantastical of his works. This airy little comedy is filled with fairies, spells, love potions and romantic mixups, with only the bland human lovers making things a little confusing (who's in love with whom again?).

As Athens prepares for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, the fusty Egeus is demanding that his daughter Hermia marry the man he's chosen for her, Demetrius. Her only other options are death or nunhood.

Since she's in love with a young man named Lysander (no, we never learn why her dad hates Lysander), Hermia refuses, and the two of them plot to escape Athens and marry elsewhere. But Helena, a girl who has been kicked to the curb by Demetrius, tips him off about their plans; he chases Hermia and Lysander into the woods, with Helena following him all the way. Are you confused yet?

But on this same night, the fairy king Oberon and his queen Titania are feuding over a little Indian boy. Oberon decides to use a magical "love juice" from a flower to cause some trouble for Titania by making her fall in love with some random weaver named Nick Bottom (whom his henchman Puck has turned into a donkey-headed man). He also decides to have Puck iron out the four lovers' romantic troubles with the same potion. But of course, hijinks ensue.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is another one of Shakespeare's plays that REALLY needs to be seen before it's read. Not only is it meant to be seen rather than read, but the tangle of romantic problems and hijinks are a little difficult to follow... okay, scratch that. They can be VERY difficult to follow, especially if you need to keep the four lovers straight.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Salita on July 7, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nota Bene: Once purchased, my Kindle download page contained this note near the download button: "This title has complex layouts and has been optimized for reading on Kindle DX's larger screen, but can still be viewed on other Kindle devices." This message disappeared after a few minutes.

Regardless, the formatting on my Kindle 2 looks good. I use the smallest font available. There is no Table of Contents and no jogability.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This story is actually quite a confusing one - the twists and turns, and the presence of two couples chasing one another around in the misty dark of a forest outside of athens is a challenging read for younger children. However as a start to reading and understanding Shakespeare then this is an excellent place to start.

Bruce Coville does a really good job in untangling some of the complexity of the story without losing the good humour and interesting subcharacters - and there are especially appealing ones for younger children down to about the age of six.

Dennis Nolan's illustrations are WONDERFUL! There is a misty, dream like quality to them allowing the magical side of the story to be enhanced for children (of all ages!)

The story is classic Shakespeare - two couples run away - one couple arrange to meet in the forest outside Athens as they have been forbidden to marry. The man she is escaping from - her fiance approved by her father - chases after her, and a second woman, who loves the fiance pursues him. So two couples roam the forest, but magic is about. In the forest the King and queen of the fairies are fighting - Oberon and Titania are at odds - however when Oberon sees and hears the laments of the couples he tries to intervene to make things right - unfortunately he sends puck to do his work - and Puck mixes things up making matters worse.

It is all resolved - and of course the star of the show, for young children anyway - is Bottom - the oaf who is given a donkey's head as a prank for Queen Titania to fall in love with. In another version, the Nesbitt re-telling of this story, Bottom is not given his name - after all it was a bit crude for teh times. HOwever the name is so appealing with kids they want this story over and over. The Fairies called to assist Titania are also appealing, cobweb, Peaseblossom and Mustard seed.

Very very nice story - highly recommended
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