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on 18 February 2016
I purchased this purely as a pleasure read but it would also be perfect for someone to use a part of a school or university course. It has a very comprehensive introduction but I found the accompanying notes explaining the text very brief in some cases. Having said that this is a very 'readable' Shakespeare play and does not, in my opinion, require flicking back and forwards very much as the text and plot are easily understood. If someone wants to expand their knowledge of Shakespeare this is a very good play to start with and great value. Highly recommended.
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on 5 April 2018
My poor review is not for the story or words of Shakespeare, but this edition. I purchased it as I thought the page layout would leave enough room for making extensive notes around each scene, which is true, however, the stage directions are in the wrong place!

For example - Act 1, Scene 1 - "SAMPSON. (aside to GREGORY). Is the law of our side if I say “ay”?" - in this edition it does not say (aside to GREGORY) - which is vital!

Even worse - Act 1, Scene 5 - the 14 line Sonnet uttered between Romeo and Juliet from lines "If I profane with my unworthiest hand... to Then move not while my prayer's effect I take" - should have the stage direction (They kiss) at the end. HOWEVER, in this version, the stage direction comes after the next line, "Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purg'd" - which (1) changes the whole meaning of that last line and (2) makes the whole speech between them not a sonnet, but 15 lines.

I know this is incredibly pedantic, but as an English teacher trying to teach the play all stage directions must be in the correct place in a printed version, or it really does change and confuse the meaning.
If you are buying the play to study for your GCSE or A Level or Degree, don't choose this version as the meaning will not be correct for every line.
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on 26 June 2016
Good, i used this for my gcse unit on r+j as I am an A*-B student, I would reccomend this to any higher ability students. The only down side is that there is not an actual copy of the play and then notes on the page next to it as I expected, so I would recommend buying a cheap copy of the play with this.
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on 4 August 2013
This has been an excellent, accessible version of the play for both myself and to use with pupils. The glossary is non-intrusive as it's located on the left hand side, in line with the word being translated, so their is minimal "Miss what does ____ mean?" Lovely abridged scene summaries are also included at the start of each new scene, which is very useful for those pupils who get a little overwhelmed by Shakespeare's language or those who are prone to giving up before even starting. A worthwhile investment, I cannot rate Oxford School editions highly enough.
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on 16 June 2017
I recommend the "No Fear" books.Shakespeare text on the left and modern present day english text on the pages on the right side in the book.Prompt delivery and reasonably priced.Will contact this supplier if I need any more "No Fear"books.
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on 8 October 2014
This is another excellent edition in this Oxford single-text series. The play itself is accompanied by copious on-page notes which push beyond mere linguistic gloss, and the introduction is admirably full. Holland starts with dream theory to contextualise the play but then ranges back through the three realms, Bottom's encounter with a form of divinity, and the play within a play.

Especially impressive is the range of bibliography absorbed and offered here, and the elucidation of intertextual references, from Ovid and Apuleius via Chaucer and sixteenth century texts.

All of this series has a robust sewn binding and thick pages making it perfect for academic study.
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on 8 December 2014
This is a very good edition for advanced undergraduates or postgraduates wanted a full response to the play. Alongside the play-text is a section on sources and contexts (magic, travel narratives), selected criticism from Dryden's 1679 essay to modern scholarship from the 1990s.

Especially useful are the rewritings and appropriations of the play, giving a broad sense of creative responses from Fletcher & Massinger to Ted Hughes. It's odd that Plath's 'Ariel' doesn't get a mention, especially as Hughes is writing as much back to that as he is to Shakespeare.

A very good study edition - and a bargain at this price.
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on 15 July 2014
Anyone creating a resource for students to enjoy performing Shakespeare deserves praise, and the notes accompanying this abridged text demonstrate great insight into the importance of encouraging children's own creativity in performance. However, I would not recommend using this abridgement as the basis for a young people's performance.

In stark contradiction to the claim on the back cover (that the series 'tell[s] the "story" of each play from start to finish'), this text meets its 30-minute requirement by reducing Shakespeare's play to just 3 scenes. It begins with Act 3 Scene 2 and continues with 4.1 and 5.1. Therefore we never meet the delightful, funny and likeable characters of the mechanicals until they are already performing their play. We never learn that Hermia is threatened with punishment by death if she refuses to marry the man her father has chosen for her. We only meet the character of Nick Bottom after he has been transformed into a man with a donkey's head, so his behaviour has no particular meaning to it. In short, this version does not give the children the opportunity to really tell this great story.

The scenes that do make it into this cut have been shortened by simply taking out lines. All the remaining lines are straight from Shakespeare. This has been done with skill though at times it seems odd when one half of a rhyming pair is left hanging.

Finally a word on the stage directions. If you read the notes you realise that the author encourages pupils to have their own ideas about how to act. However the stage directions given in his text (in contrast to Shakespeare's) are very detailed and appear prescriptive, even if they are not intended to be.
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on 15 January 2016
I do not think that you can beat these editions of the plays because the text is clearly set out, in quite large print, and brief notes and explanations typed on the same page as the text, so that it saves the hassle of turning to the back pages when required. The introductions about setting, plot, and character are so useful for exam work. I now have about six of these plays in the same series, and I cannot fault them. The newer editions also give ideas for pupils' assignments for better understanding.
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on 17 June 2014
Writing a review for this play is a bit like a chocoholic singing the praises for chocolate. I love it. It is my favourite of all Shakespeare's work. The only reason this scored a 4 instead of a 5 is that it was the kindle version. The kindle format doesn't really work that well. It screws up the layout of the play a bit which leads to confusion on who is speaking. Putting that to one side, the play itself is brilliant.
6 people found this helpful
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