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《Tales from Shakespeare》vol.1
《Tales from Shakespeare》vol.1
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  • 《莎士比亞戲劇故事集》(Tales from Shakespeare)是英國散文家查爾斯•蘭姆和他的姊姊瑪麗•蘭姆將莎士比亞戲劇改編成的故事。本書屬於“滿FUN英文經典”系列,共分為三個小分冊,目前已出版《莎士比亞戲劇故事集》的第一個分冊。每冊收錄6-7個由蘭姆姐弟改編,原汁原味的莎士比亞戲劇故事,讓兒童讀者在有能力閱讀莎士比亞原著劇本之前,了解莎劇著名故事,體會十九世紀改編者的精妙文筆,并輔以英文名師解讀介紹和疑難詞語解析,背景知識介紹等內容,對讀者提高英文閱讀、鑒賞和寫作能力大有幫助。
  • 查爾斯•蘭姆和瑪麗•蘭姆是英國的作家與詩人。1806年,蘭姆姐弟開始從莎士比亞戲劇中選擇20個最為人們所熟知的,把它們改寫成敘事體的散文。查爾斯•蘭姆改寫其中六個悲劇,即《李爾王》、《麥克白》、《雅典的泰門》、《羅密歐與朱麗葉》、《哈姆萊特》和《奧瑟羅》。其中另外十四部喜劇均由姐姐瑪麗所改寫,後來這部書出版,即是著名的《莎士比亞戲劇故事集》。
  • Contents

     

    CHARACTERS INTRODUCTION   2

    INTRODUCTION   12

    THE TEMPEST   20

    A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM   48

    OTHELLO   77

    KING LEAR   109

    TWELFTH NIGHT   145

    PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE   177

  • Introduction

     

    The greatest writer in English language, the most influential dramatist and the gifted poet! Who can be honored like that unquestionably through ages? There were many excellent writers writing fabulous stories in the past, there are numerous writers impressing us with their insightful works now, and there will be talented writers surprising us by their creativity, still William Shakespeare was, is and will be considered as the greatest writer in English language unarguably.

    So who was William Shakespeare? Actually we only know very little about him. His life can be summarized by the following facts.

    1. He was born in Stratfort-upon-Avon, England, on 26 April 1564.

    2. His father was John Shakespeare, who worked as a leather worker, business owner and civil servant in Stratfort. His mother was Mary Arden from a rich family in Wilmcote, Warwickshire.

    3. He did not go to any college. Probably he studied in the grammar school in his home town for a few years.

    4. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582. The couple had three children, Susanna, and the twins Hamnet and Judith. Unfortunately, Hamnet died when he was 11 years old.

    5. He went to London after the birth of the twins in 1585. No one really knew what he did in London in the next seven years. We only know that he had already become a famous and popular playwright in 1592.

    6. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories. Comedies are the plays with humorous scenes and happy endings. Histories are the plays based on historical figures and events. Then he wrote mainly tragedies from 1600 to 1608. Tragedies are the plays with sad endings. In the last part of his career, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances. These plays have tragically events in the beginning of the play, but all the problems are solved by the end of the plays.

    7. Since women were not allowed to perform on stage during Shakespeare's time, all the female roles were played by boy actors.

    8. His playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men built the Globe Theatre in London in 1599. He was the shareholder of the theatre. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613.

    9. He died on 23 April, 1616. He was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford on 25 April, 1616.

    10. He did not create the plots for his plays from scratch. He got ideas from the stories he read or heard, but his genius had transformed the old tales into the philosophical and poetic plays, which are unparalleled. Totally he wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 narrative poems.

    Ben Johnson, Shakespeare's good friend and fellow writer, wrote the most famous praise about Shakespeare: “Shakespeare was not of an age, but for all time.”

    What makes Shakespeare so great? It is such a big topic that many scholars have done excellent research with their strong arguments, and no one in his or her life time can possibly finish reading all the research articles about Shakespeare. To summarize what the scholars have said, Shakespeare had a deep understanding to human nature, he created the unforgettable characters in an extremely authentic and vivid way, and he told the dramatic stories with stunningly beautiful and poetic words! As readers or audiences to Shakespeare's masterpieces, who would forget the heart breaking story about the star crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet ? Who would not fancy the world of fairies after they enter the enchanted woods with the young lovers in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

    You may ask this question, if Shakespeare's works are so amazing, why don't we just read his original plays directly? I am quite sure that some advanced readers can handle the Elizabethan English Shakespeare used to write; however, to most of the readers nowadays, especially children and young adults, both the verse and prose in the plays are too strange and difficult for them to understand. Moreover, Shakespeare was a playwright, not a novelist. His plays were written for actors to perform, not for the readers to read. Each of his play has five acts and each act has different scenes, with some brief stage directions. The characters in the plays use dialogues and monologues to deliver the plots. They speak in verses or proses according to their social status or mood. Most of the young readers are not familiar with the literary genre. They may get confused or frustrated. Definitely we do not want to give the young readers the wrong impression that reading Shakespeare is an intimidating task.

    Then how to help young readers to read Shakespeare in a fun way? Mr. Charles Lamb (1775-1834), a famous essayist in nineteenth century England was the first person who had done something brilliant about it. Charles Lamb and his sister, Mary Lamb (1764-1847) worked together and retold the stories from Shakespeare's plays. While the brother retold the intriguing plots of Shakespeare's tragedies, the sister was responsible for rewriting the delightful tales of the comedies.

    The book Tales from Shakespeare was first published in 1807. Charles Lamb was a famous essayist and poet himself, and Mary Lamb's talent of writing was no less than her younger brother. Actually Mary was the person who taught Charles reading when he was a little boy!

    This version of Shakespeare's stories was not only beautifully written, but also kept Shakespeare's own language as much as possible. It helps young readers to get familiar with the English of Shakespeare's time, and give them the confidence to read the original plays when they are ready. Once the readers learn how to appreciate Shakespeare's masterpieces, they will not be the same persons anymore. They have drawn the curtain of a wide stage to see the most fascinating scenes in the world!

    Now please listen to this: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances...” Let the play start! And it is not any play; it is a play by William Shakespeare!

     

    Lisa Tam


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