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A Midsummer Night's Dream: Silly Shakespeare for Students


Loved it! 😍

An excellent English language learning resource created from an old Shakespeare classic and rendered in delightful, couplet form.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Silly Shakespeare for Students by Paul Leonard Murray is an adaptation of the original that primarily seeks to bring the old classic within the reach of young English language students (probably, in the age group 10-15). To adapt it successfully to an audience of that age group, the author has shortened it to nearly a third of its original size (while keeping the story intact) and rendered what he retained in a rhyming, couplet form. Tough parts have been simplified, and the language used is modern. The result is a highly enjoyable textbook for learners of English.

The major reasons Shakespeare’s works figure as the best English language learning resources are: learning the art of story-telling; appreciation of classics—why they are universal and ever-relevant; a deep understanding of the human condition (i.e., the destructive power of emotions/desires like love, hate, greed, jealousy, power, ambition, revenge, etc. that are continually at work in us) and thus, a lesson on what’s right and wrong in life, and the values we need to develop; and learning the best verbal and written language skills. Examined critically along these lines, I found it an excellent English learning resource!

I also found a flaw that has resulted from the extensive 'pruning' carried out by the author on Shakespeare’s original work to create this book—the pruning may have removed too many details. Here’s an example: in the original, at the start of Act I, Scene I, the dialog between Theseus and Hippolyta reveals that there are still four days to go before their marriage; however, this detail is missing in this book. Kids at the lower end of the 10-15 age group may not care about it, but those at the higher end, being more mature, may find the book more trivial than they’re expecting because of the many missing details.

The best thing about this book is that it’s rendered in poetry form. It’s no simple task to rewrite a whole classic in the form of couplets, and the author rightly merits high praise for his commendable efforts in this regard.

I whole-heartedly recommend A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Silly Shakespeare for Students to all young native English learners. It will also serve as an excellent textbook for learners of all ages, all over the world, to whom English is a secondary language (ESL). However, a minimum prior background in English is necessary for ESL students, without which they may find it overwhelming/intimidating and consequently, unsuitable as a textbook of English.

Reviewed by

An engineer and part-time IT Consultant based in Bangalore, India. Part-time copy editor/reviewer. An IEEE Senior Member. Deep thinker and innovator. Highly analytical, clear, accurate, and thorough. Nearly 100 book reviews published to date-74 on Reedsy and 22 on Online BookClub.

Prologue and Scene 1

About the author

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Published on May 01, 2020

Published by Alphabet Publishing

10000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Plays & Screenplays

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