Tales from Shakespeare

Front Cover
Penguin Books USA, 1986 - Fiction - 332 pages
11 Reviews
A wonderful way to experience 20 of Shakespeare's timeless plays, this retelling of the stories in prose by the famous nineteenth-century brother and sister, Charles and Mary Lamb, was originally published just for children. Keeping Shakespeare's own words whenever possible, but making the plots and language easily accessible, this entertaining and very readable collection has remained a standard book of children's literature since its first appearance in London in 1807 and has delighted generations of adults as well. Here Shakespeare's best known tragedies and comedies come vividly to life. Whether it's the moving drama of "Hamlet, " the stormy action of "Macbeth," or the great wit of "The Taming of the Shrew, " each play is presented with charm and clarity for readers of any age to enjoy - as a helpful preface to the original Elizabethan version or simply as enriching, unforgettable stories in themselves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - countrylife - LibraryThing

From the foreword: ”In the twenty tales told in this book, the Lambs succeeded in paraphrasing the language of truly adult literature in children’s terms.” And they succeeded beautifully. Each tale is ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - momma2 - LibraryThing

The kids begged for more Shakespeare. No, really, they did. Although it was a difficult read aloud with all of it's run on sentences, this was a wonderful version of Shakespeare. Not overly simplified ... Read full review

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About the author (1986)

Charles Lamb was born in London, England in 1775. He was educated at the well-known Christ's Hospital school, which he attended from age eight to 15. It was there that he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who became a lifelong friend; the friendship was to have a significant influence on the literary careers of both men. Lamb did not continue his education at the university, probably because of a nervous condition that resulted in a severe stammer. Instead, he went to work as a clerk, eventually becoming an accounting clerk with the East India Company, where he worked for most of his adult life. However, he continued to pursue his literary interests as well and became well-known as a writer. His best work is considered to be his essays, originally published under the pen name Elia, but Lamb also wrote poetry, plays, and stories for children under his own name. In 1796, Lamb's sister, Mary Ann, went mad and attacked her parents with a knife, killing her mother and wounding her father. She was placed in an institution for a time, but was eventually released into her brother's guardianship. This incident, and later periods when she was institutionalized again, had a great effect on Lamb, who had always been very close to his sister. Charles and Mary Ann Lamb collaborated on several books, including Poetry for Children, Mrs. Leicester's School, and Beauty and the Beast. Probably their best-known collaboration, however, was Tales from Shakespeare, a series of summaries of the plots from 20 Shakespearean plays, which was published in 1807. Charles Lamb died in 1834.

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