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A Midsummer Night's Dream : (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; 1st. Edition edition (5 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260308
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Traditionally seen as one of Shakespeare's more romantic and enchanting plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream has more recently been seen as a darker and more sinister play than generations of schoolchildren have ever imagined. The play has usually been seen as a comical tale with confused identities and the fickleness of youthful love, as the young lovers, Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena escape parental control and the "sharp Athenian law" of their elders by eloping into the forest outside the city. Unfortunately they stumble into civil war in fairyland, where King Oberon and Queen Titania fight over possession of a beautiful young Indian "changeling" boy. The appearance of the "rude mechanicals", a group of Athenian workers, including the weaver Nick Bottom, compounds the confusion. Chaos, confusion and "shaping fantasies" reign before the final settlement of the play, but underneath all the hilarity many critics have discerned more ambivalent attitudes towards coercive parental control, bestial sexuality and the destructive power of desire. These approaches in no way detract from the exquisite lyricism of many sections of the play, but make it a more complex and effective comedy than has often been appreciated. --Jerry Brotton

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 the Hardcover edition.

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When Samuel Pepys saw A Midsummer Night's Dream in September 1662, he remarked that he had never seen it before - 'nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life'. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dis Hammerhand on 22 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I owned a large volume of the complete works of Shakespeare for a number of years and opened it perhaps once. The first play I started with was Midsummer Night's Dream. The ponderous size of the book along with the large pages filled with close print soon overwhelmed me and I gave up.

I have had a nicely filled bookcase full of the Collector's Library for a number of years and have continued to add to it. I was pleased to see Shakespeare's sonnets and some of his plays begin to appear. What a difference it made for me! I read Macbeth in one sitting. Cute little books with pictures make the Bard seem far less daunting. Each volume has an introduction and a glossary. I like the bright white paper and the pretty red cloth covers. The dustwrappers are so attractive that all you need is some ribbon and a bow to put it under the Christmas tree. They are especially handsome when you have a whole bookcase full of the little books.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a good one to start with if you've never read Shakespeare. It's lighthearted and fun with mischievous fairies and a sprinkling of magic. Frankly, it piqued my interest because I wanted to know how the unfortunately named Bottom ended up with an ass's head.

I really hope Collector's Library publishes all of Shakespeare's works like they did with Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes.

I am now taking Hamlet to dinner.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mp Barker on 26 Dec. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
We all know this is a great Shakespearean play, the only question to answer is: how is the formatting on the Kindle edition?

In this example it's done sufficiently and the play reads as it should. The stage directions are included in full, and are also very clear. I'm very pleased with my free download.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lovborg on 23 May 2003
Format: Paperback
There's nothing that you can write about "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that could hope to convey the glory, the comedy and the intelligence of the play.
What you can hope to convey in this kind of a review is that this edition is the only one worth buying for serious study, with an excellent introduction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", (written between 1590 and 1596), one of his best loved comedies and plays, needs no introduction or reviews here; if readers are looking for this type of material, there are more fruitful sources.

As an educationalist, I recommend these excellent academic editions for anyone studying above GCSE level; for anyone below that, they contain far more information and detail than is required for their examination standard. GCSE level students have the Oxford and Cambridge editions (with helpful notes), the Wordsworth paperback for the text alone and a whole host of others.

For those above this level, i.e. Advanced Level and beyond into graduate and post-graduate study, they have rightfully earned a great reputation for their comprehensive notes, annotations, source editions, topical allusions and other essential information for complete studies of his plays.

These are excellent editions for anyone with a serious interest in Shakespeare after GCSE level.

Highly Recommended and worth the money.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sambrina on 8 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
The book contains everything you need when putting on a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, there is a small glossary at the back for Shakespearian words no longer used and longer explanations about the significance of beards if needed

For £2 you can't fault it. :)
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By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
The Dream is often one of the first Shakespeare plays that we read at school and it has a reputation of being frothy, romantic and lyrical. It certainly might be all of those things but it also has a far more sinister heart than it is often credited with. Rape, revenge, dark desire and imprisonment all haunt the text, from the background to the Theseus/Hippolyta 'romance' to Hermia's dream of having her heart eaten by a serpent while Lysander stands by and laughs.

It is also intensely self-conscious of its own status as a theatrical artefact, playing with the ideas of what is illusion and what reality with Theseus, himself a fictional and mythic character, voicing the rejection of fiction.

The Arden editions aren't my favourite as I find the commentary intrusive, but Brooks does an excellent job of compiling Shakespeare's sources here. From Chaucer to Seneca as well as the more obvious Ovid, he uncovers some of the allusions which make this one of Shakespeare's most literary plays.

By all means love this for its beautiful lyricism but a closer look uncovers a far darker world that just deepens our respect for this play.
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By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Wordsworth Classics do not try to be anything they are not, a feature I have liked about them for years. They contain the text in a basic paperback format and are produced at a very cheap price. For students at Key Stage Three or GCSE, these are excellent texts, allowing them to annotate, underline and highlight in the knowledge that "they are expendable". For play production, they are ideal. Concentrating students on the text is an excellent idea which forces them to think and consider the language and that is the Shakespeare.

There is an edition of this accompanied by a CD and it is the best reasonably-priced study CD I have encountered and much better than many higher priced competitors; not only is the content excellent but the software and programming is solid too, an essential feature of any study CD.

Recommended.
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