William Shakespeare

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Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2000 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 48 pages
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He was the greatest poet and playwright who ever lived, the dramatist who penned lines that we quote without even realizing their origin. Shakespeare's glorious works have even inspired animated films--like Disney's The Lion King. Introduce children to the Bard with this wonderful, fully annotated collection of sonnets and soliloquies, enhanced with beautiful, highly realistic color paintings that bring each excerpt to vivid life. Here are Shakespeare's most famous speeches: "To be or not to be" from Hamlet, with the melancholy Dane pictured in front of the castle, his face pensive and gazing into the distance; Portia's gentle plea for mercy in The Merchant of Venice; Macbeth's witches' cackling "Double, double, toil and trouble"; and Marc Antony's sarcastic address to "Friends, Romans, Countrymen," in Julius Caesar. A golden-robed Henry V, kneeling and bowed from the weight of the world, ponders how rulers must bear the burden of their subjects' needs. Mercutio, seen here in a bright red background as fiery and explosive as his personality, gently teases his lovesick friend Romeo. From the tender sonnets (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?) to the humorous songs sung by his jesters in comedies such as Twelfth Night, every page contains pure verbal and visual magic.

"...the most delicate challenge in introducing poetry to children [is]...making all the necessary allowances for accessibility without completely throwing felicity and mystery to the winds. In this respect...it is particularly heartening to come upon...The Poetry for Young People Series [which] should be commended for recognizing that secure stepping stones hold infinitely more hope than forced marches."--Washington Post Book World.


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About the author (2000)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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