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Tales from Shakespeare (Wordsworth Children's Classics) Paperback – December 5, 1999
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About the Author
Charles Lamb (1775-1834) was a distinguished critic and essayist, as well as the best friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and an associate of many other leading literary figures of his day. He is best known for his essays, written under the pen name "Elia," and for his critical studies of British dramatists.
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here we have a great tool for those being introduced to shakespeare and his vast body of work. to the new shakespeare reader, it can be difficult (through language and writing style) to understand the stories of each play, however this book breaks them down into understandable stories, as well as includes a comprehensive glossary of the main characters in each of the plays covered.
this book covers the following plays:
a midsummer night's dream
the winter's tale
much ado about nothing
as you like it
the two gentlemen of verona
the merchant of venice
all's well that ends well
the taming of the shrew
the comedy of errors
measure for measure
twelfth night; or, what you will
timon of athens
romeo and juliet
hamlet, prince of denmark
pericles, prince of tyre
when i was in high school, each fall, the drama club would go to ashland, oregon, home of the largest stateside shakespeare festival (and a modified recreation of the old globe theatre) to see several plays. how i wish i would have had this book back then for reference!
a bonus here with the puffin classics is the addition of backstory included at the end of the book. here you can learn more about the author, the characters, and so much more. what a delightful thing to include!
i have purchased most of these puffin classics editions, and will certainly look for future additions to add to my collection.
Just as with theater -goers today, it was usual for the audience to know ahead of the performance what they expected to witness. Shakespeare's genius was in many things, but as with most great artists, he stole from the best!! NOT PLAGIARIZING AS WE MEAN IT TODAY.. He retold ancient myths and sometimes more recent legends. He combined plot and sub-plot as any great chef combines ingredients. AND, he did it with wonderful language that was witty and fresh and provoking! Shakespeare broke the then-current rules of language: he verbed nouns!!! (Remember the language arts teacher who instructed that "contact" is not to be used as "John contacted his boss."? Shakespeare increased English enormously: some say 50% of words in ordinary use today are due to him!
SO, if you read Lamb, you will be able to pick up a play, or enter a theater with a background similar to the original audience.
p.s. Reading the great Greek and Roman myths will help you see many inside jokes and references; Bullfinch is still my favorite source - one rarely finds this level of language on WWW.
The introduction to the book provides interesting insight into British culture at the time the book was written.
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