Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kernel's Library: Shakespearean Tales And Stories In Prose

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb Book 00062: Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb

- Tales from Shakespeare

First Publication:
- 1807

- The book reduced the archaic English and complicated storyline of Shakespeare to a simple level that children could read and comprehend.
- Mary Lamb was responsible for the comedies, while her brother wrote the tragedies; they wrote the preface between them.

I always wanted to read the Shakespeare plays, but I am not equipped to understand the Old English used in the poetry. But thanks to Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare I was able to grasp a somewhat faithful overview of at most 20 Shakespearean plays.

The 20 stories adapted from the selected plays were:

1 - The Tempest (Mary Lamb)
2 - A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mary Lamb)
3 - The Winter's Tale (Mary Lamb)
4 - Much Ado About Nothing (Mary Lamb)
5 - As You Like It (Mary Lamb)
6 - Two Gentlemen of Verona (Mary Lamb)
7 - The Merchant of Venice (Mary Lamb)
8 - Cymbeline (Mary Lamb)
9 - King Lear (Charles Lamb)
10 - Macbeth (Charles Lamb)
11 - All's Well That Ends Well (Mary Lamb)
12 - The Taming of the Shrew (Mary Lamb)
13 - The Comedy of Errors (Mary Lamb)
14 - Measure for Measure (Mary Lamb)
15 - Twelfth Night (Mary Lamb)
16 - Timon of Athens (Charles Lamb)
17 - Romeo and Juliet (Mary Lamb)
18 - Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Charles Lamb)
19 - Othello (Charles Lamb)
20 - Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Mary Lamb)


No better introduction to William Shakespeare's dramatic masterpieces exists than the delightful prose adaptations of Charles and Mary Lamb, first published in 1807. The two selected 20 of Shakespeare's best-known plays and set out both to make them accessible to children and to pay enthusiastic homage to the original works. Together the Lambs distilled the powerful themes and unforgettable characterizations of Shakespeare's plays into elegant narratives--classic tales in their own right. Charles took responsibility for such powerful tragedies as Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear, while Mary worked on the comedies: brilliant fantasies like A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, and thought-provoking plays like Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, and The Merchant of Venice. As the authors point out in their Preface, their versions of the tragedies tend to rely on the language of the original plays, while the comedies are more freely adapted. But all of the Lambs' stories--with their clear, supple, and rhythmic prose--reward any reader, whether encountering Shakespeare for the first time or revisiting his work.

Grade: A+