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Opening with an introduction to the life of the most famous Englishman of all, William Shakespeare, Edith Nesbit captures the reader's imagination in her inimitable way. Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare is a compendium of stories that re-tells some of his most famous plays. As the author of some of the best-loved children's classics like The Railway Children and The Story of the Treasure Seekers, E Nesbit always felt that children should be introduced to Shakespeare in an easier and more enjoyable way. She has thoughtfully included a glossary of difficult names in the plays and a guide on how to pronounce them. Another useful inclusion is a collection of memorable quotations from the plays. In this Age of the Internet, very few people are able to, or even find the need to, memorize quotations from their favorite works of literature – but it is an art which gives much pleasure and keeps the memory of the book or poem alive in the mind. The plays retold here range across the Great Tragedies like King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello. One of the most appealing features of Nesbit's retelling is that she retains the atmosphere and milieu of the plays while she makes the text simpler for children to understand. In Macbeth for instance, the witches, the crimes and the final tragic climax are superbly recreated. A lighter note is struck in plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night where all Shakespeare's wit and talent for creating comic situations is brought out. Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare contains twenty stories and they are so attractively presented that both young and old readers alike can enjoy them. For younger readers, they would be a great stepping-stone to go on and read the magnificent plays in their original form.
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