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A Midsummer Night's Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library) Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fine example of judicious editorial writing. Foakes guides the reader securely and fluently through the critical and scholarly disputes that have accumulated around the play. He manages to be informative without being patronizing, and detached with out failing to offer opinions." The Times Higher Education Supplement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

' a fine example of judicious editorial writing. Foakes guides the reader securely and fluently through the critical and scholarly disputes that have accumulated around the play. He manages to be informative without being patronizing, and detached with out failing to offer opinions.'The Times Higher Education SupplementFor this updated edition a new section of the Introduction takes account of important professional theatre productions and the large output of scholarly criticism on the play which have appeared in recent years. The Reading List has also been revised and augmented. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743482816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743482813
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Okay, so maybe I'm not the world's greatest living expert on Shakespeare, considering the fact that, other than this, I have only read Romeo and Juliet. But hey, I thought it was great. Characters like Bottom and Robin Goodfellow were hilarious. Shakespeare seems to know how to make a tangled mess of everyone's lives very well. It amazes me his power to make that seem funny at times and then seem incredibly sad at others. I have to say, I really enjoyed this comedy better than his tragedy. I'm reading The Taming of The Shrew next. I don't know if I can handle Hamlet or Othello right now. By the way, if you're like me and you need someone to explain Shakespeare's language to you, I highly recommend the New Folger Library Copy with explanations on the opposite page.
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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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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mel G. on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is great. It does a great job of breaking down the text of "Midsummer" and telling what it really means. On one page is the actual text of the play; On the direct opposite page is the translation. The only translation I've found so far that is way out there is the translation of "Tary rash wanton...." The translation is "Wait a minute, you brazen hussy...." Now, HOW is that an understandable translation?? This is the only thing that puts a damper on a perfect score. While I was in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," our director frequently had us refer to the book to figure out what in the world we were saying. I highly reccommend buying this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By EA 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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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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