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Tales from Shakespeare (1807)

by Charles Lamb, Charles Lamb, Mary Lamb (Author), Mary Lamb

Other authors: William Shakespeare (Auteur adapté), William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,682411,809 (3.83)70
Shakespeare's fourteen comedies and six tragedies retold in prose.

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English (37)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Well this is one way to end a relatively fruitful Shakespeare catch-up month… It started off strong with Hamnet, kept going decently with Titus Andronicus (even though it’s ridiculous, it is source material, so it can stay), and even though there were a few DNFs to cross off the reading list I was still in a hopeful mood when I cracked the spine on this book. Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, specifically the Arthur Rackham illustrated edition, was high on my thrift hunting list so I was pretty excited when I finally scooped a copy a little bit ago and was waiting for the perfect time to delve into their “classic” adapted tales for children. Unfortunately almost from the get go I was disgusted with their interpretation of Shakespeare’s stories… Sure, some of the premise and characters were there, but gone was the Shakespearean subtlety, wit, and drama and instead we’re left with infantilized moral tales unsuitable for any but the most vapid child. Starting off were two potentially strong tales, that even with the ribaldry taken out had plenty of room for highjinx and entertainment - the Tempest and a Midsummer Night’s Dream - but the stories were told in such a drab manner that all of the sparkle of magic was completely taken away. After that point I focused entirely on enjoying Rackham’s illustrations, so as not to ruin any beloved stories or spoil the ones I haven’t gotten to yet. This specific edition didn’t have the best versions of his colour work, being a Book of the Month club publication, and their placement was a bit arbitrary, but the simple line work for story headers and enders was well-reproduced and the paper quality was surprisingly lush. With a smidge more effort on the part of the colour reproductions (and a replacement of the atrocious travesty of text) this book actually would have been a solid example of an illustrated classic, as its size and weight was just about perfect for reading and it’s a great size to sit displayed on a shelf! ( )
  JaimieRiella | May 7, 2024 |
Just to be clear, I’m not rating Shakespeare’s plays a three star. I thoroughly enjoy most of his plays. What bothered me with this book was that it was intended to be for children, and I feel like the language is still quite complicated for children. So as a children’s book, I don’t think this succeeded, but it is a great way for adults to get an idea of what Shakespeare’s plays are about without having to actually read Shakespeare’s plays. ( )
  jbrownleo | Mar 27, 2024 |
Outstanding illustrations. ( )
  Eurekas | Apr 20, 2023 |
Good for children!
Although I found it quite hard to read back in 8th grade. I believe this book should be recommended 10th grade onwards. ( )
  Drake.Sully | Apr 18, 2023 |
  aftabhumna | Oct 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lamb, CharlesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamb, Charlesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamb, MaryAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamb, Marymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, WilliamAuteur adaptésecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, Williamsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duncan-Jones, KatherineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jackson, A.E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jolivet, JoëlleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nikly, MichelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petersham, MiskaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Price, N MIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svolinsky, KarelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weisgard, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The following Tales are meant to be submitted to the young reader as an introduction to the study of Shakespeare, for which purpose his words are used whoever it seemed possible to bring them in; and in whatever has been added to give them the regular form of a connected story, diligent care has been taken to select such words as might least interrupt the effect of the beautiful English tongue in which he wrote: therefore words introduced into our language since his time have been as far as possible avoided.
It is a dangerous matter for young maidens to be the confidantes of handsome young dukes; ("Twelfth Night", p.238)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English


Shakespeare's fourteen comedies and six tragedies retold in prose.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Includes: The Tempest - A Midsummer Night's Dream - The Winter's Tale - Much Ado About Nothing - As You Like It - Cymbeline - The Two Gentlemen of Verona - The Merchant of Venice - King Lear - Macbeth - All's Well that Ends Well - The Taming of the Shrew - The Comedy of Errors - Measure for Measure - Twelfth Night - Timon of Athens - Romeo and Juliet - Hamlet - Othello - Pericles
Haiku summary
The Bard simplified,
A summary of each play,
Shakespeare for children.

Legacy Library: Charles Lamb

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