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Stories from Shakespeare Paperback – October 1, 1959


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Meridian Books by Penguin Books; Reissue edition (October 1, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452010616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452010611
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Chute's book provides a basic summary for each of Shakespeare's plays.
orbit13
Marchette Chute's Stories from Shakespeare is quite simply the best collection of summaries of the plays.
WifeofBath3
The book also appreciates the beauty of Shakespeare's language by offering selected excerpts.
David James Trapp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By WifeofBath3 on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Marchette Chute's Stories from Shakespeare is quite simply the best collection of summaries of the plays. Chute uses clear language to retell the story, she follows the order of the play in her telling, and, while her love of the plays is evident, she never degenerates into bardolatry (or into pedantry or into excessive personal comments.) If you want to be able to quickly refresh your memory of a play before going to the theater, buy this book. If you find it easier to know the story of the play before you read it, buy this book. If you're a parent who wants to give your children simple retellings of the plays, buy this book. If you're an adult who wants to know what all those other plays of Shakespeare were about (the ones you never bothered to--or were never forced to--read), buy this book. If you're a high school student with only fifteen minutes left before an exam on a play you didn't read, you'll wish you'd bought this book.
(A word on competitors: Forget the Lambs' Tales from Shakespeare. They are not as easy to read as Chute's book, they contain sexist undertones, they do not always follow the order of the play, and they form an incomplete collection.)
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By orbit13 on March 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Chute's book provides a basic summary for each of Shakespeare's plays. Her writing is as lyrical as it is complete for such a book, which makes it a handy, enjoyable reference. Her main goal is to make the stories digestible, and to that end, the essence of Shakespeare's plays emerges brilliantly, freeing the average reader of dusty Elizabethan language. Unlike other books that give choppy scene-by-scene summaries (though helpful in their own way) or brief plot highlights, Chute's summaries seamlessly tie the play's entire action, principle and otherwise.
The plays are grouped by comedies, tragedies, and histories, with comedies and tragedies in the likely order they were written and the histories arranged chronologically by reign. She includes an illuminating introduction that sheds light on Shakespeare's genius and innovation as well as how best to approach his work. An index of characters is also included. One of the many things I appreciated about this book is Chute's resistance to overemphasizing popular texts. With the exception of "Titus Andronicus," she devotes a fair amount of text to each play, though some do receive added attention.
Those looking for a more detailed or critical reading of Shakespeare's work would not benefit from Chute's book. There are numerous (non-academic) guides for those desiring more than a casual read and study of the Bard. ("Shakespeare for Dummies," "The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare," and "The Age of Shakespeare" are all books I've consulted for more background and a better understanding of the author and era.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By goldbergr@prn.musc.edu on December 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
I thought that this was a great book because it told the great stories of Shakespeare so that everyone could understand it. I think it is a great book to read before you read the unabridged plays.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ededwards on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book successfully to help negotiate top grades in an Ivy League Shakespeare class more than 30 years ago, and I still use a copy to reorient myself and my family to Shakespeare's works. An invaluable guide to the essence of each play, including all significant aesthetic themes. Indispensable as a quick read before seeing a Shakespeare play that hasn't been read or seen for some time. I've come across no other book that is so helpful yet concise.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott Walker on March 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is not a book of stories, but a reference work on the order of Cliff's Notes. For that it is well worth owning.
If you are looking for entertaining retellings of the stories, look elswhere. This won't thrill your kids or any other audience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David James Trapp on October 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Margaret Chute's Stories of Shakespeare uses an novel technique. She writes treatments for 36 of the plays (those in the First Folio), a present tense chronology of the plot in simple, eloquent language. This book is useful for actors, students or the casual fan. The book also appreciates the beauty of Shakespeare's language by offering selected excerpts. Further, it recognises the humor, the history and the tragedy of the story and gives concise summaries so the reader can always follow the action. This is an excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marchette Chute still remains the finest volume of brief stories of Shakespeare's plays. I happily gave it as a gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mares on May 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was in excellent condition and the price was right! This is a favorite book and I was glad to get a good copy.
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