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Tales from Shakespeare

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,530 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Celebrated prose retellings of Shakespeare's plays

Charles and Mary Lamb have delighted generations of adults as well as children with their famed prose renderings of Shakespeare's originals. Bringing the plays to life in a form that encourages readers to enjoy and explore, Tales from Shakespeare provides an entertaining and informative introduction to the great works whil
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Penguin Classics (first published 1807)
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Community Reviews

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I vaguely recall some years ago Venezuela set up a government department called the Ministry of Love. The idea was to inculcate in poor women the understanding that their babies from the very moment they were born would respond to any stimuli. Poverty shouldn't stop mothers from giving their babies experience of smell and sound and touch and...

My parents certainly wanted that for us. Knowing how poor we were when I was little, I still marvel at the amazing opportunities they conjured up for us t
Malak Alrashed
Jul 24, 2014 Malak Alrashed rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Non-english speakers

* This review is going to be slightly short.

I got this book on my 20th birthday. A friend of mine knew how much I suffer reading Shakespeare and that I always read simple summaries before reading the original plays, so it was very thoughtful of her to bring a book that contains the most famous plays of Shakespeare retold in a very clear and easy-to-follow style. The plays are written as "short-stories" which made the book even easier to comprehend.

Generally, the book is pretty helpful for non-En
I'm not so sure that this book is appropriately titled. Many of the adaptations in here are too far above the developmental level of what I consider to be "children," but they are probably perfectly appropriate for kids between 12 and oh, 14 or 15 years old. Kids edging into 14, 15, and certainly 16 years old should be receiving some exposure to William Shakespeare's own writing, but I think that this book might help them understand the arc of some of Shakespeare's plays better.

Romeo and Juliet:
The tales in this volume are written for children and have become literature in their own right.

Writing the stories was a project for Mary Lamb while in a sanitarium for murdering her mother. Her brother Charles Lamb faithfully visited his sister every day. They divided the tales up, each wrote half and they would read them to each other.

Regardless of the origin of the stories they are brief descriptions of some of Shakespeare's plays and are nice introductions to the work of the Bard.
Lisa Vegan
Nov 12, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children ages 8-12
These stories are a perfect way to introduce children to Shakespeare’s plays. I loved this book when I was 10, and I’m convinced it’s one of the main reasons I was a Shakespeare fanatic well before I entered high school.
OK, first: I am literature purist, and generally am very adverse to "children's versions" of anything. I would instead start by teaching a simpler play like Romeo and Juliet or Julius Caesar in say, sixth or seventh grade as an introduction to Shakespeare. I suppose the Lamb version, is all right to introduce the Bard to very young students. For my fifth grade class, I taught the Lamb version and I still fear it may have done them a disservice. Actually, I was so concerned that it might bleed ou ...more
The edition I have was published in 1863. I got it several years ago in Amsterdam. These snippits of Shakespeare provide a wonderful overview for many of his best known works. They were written to instruct young children (particularly nineteenth century girls) on the basic stories in Shakespeare's plays, so that when they grew older and began studying Shakespear in earnest, they would already be familiar with the basics and could focus on learning the more subtle parts of his work. Even as an ad ...more
Tales From Shakespeare is a novel that consists of 20 of Shakespeares classic writtings . From the famous ''Romeo and Juliet'' to the classic'' Merchant of Venice'' and many more of his works. When reading this book I was soon to realize that it was quite easy to understand considering the difficulty of Shakespeare old time writing style. This book makes it easier to understand the works of Shakespeare .I reccommend this book for students or as others recommend it children who are interested in ...more
Alexander Arsov
Charles and Mary Lamb

Tales from Shakespeare

Penguin Popular Classics, Paperback, [1995].

12mo. 313 pp. Preface by the authors [pp. 5-7].

First published, 1807.
Penguin Popular Classics, 1995.



The Tempest
A Midsummer Night's Dreams
The Winter's Tale
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Merchant of Venice
King Lear
All's Well That Ends Well
The Taming of the Shrew
The Comedy of Errors
Measure for Measure
Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Timon of Athens
A good book really that serves as a good introduction for those who are going to study Shakespeare. The book presents Shakespearean plays in prose, using an easy language that prepares students to get a good view of the play before reading the original text. However, the book sometimes dispenses with some parts which are, despite not part of the main plot, serve some purpose in the play. For example, in presenting King Lear, there is no mention whatsoever of Gloucester, and Bedlam Begger is not ...more
Hyelin Lee
I need to read this book for my summer vacation homework.
In my book I had " Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Tempest, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear".
These six stories' characters are have jealous, love, lie to others.
my favourite story was " King Lear".

King Lear was had three daughters and King Lear loved his third daughter Cordelia.
So he asked " What do you think of your love for me?" to his three daughters. his two daughters are lie to his father because they want to have lands and castles. But Co
If you are looking for a brief, relatively accessible, summary of Shakespeare's plays, this fits the bill. It took me a while to get into the style, but once I did, I began to very much appreciate the presentation of the essence of each story. Of course much is lost, but they do seek to maintain some of the key lines in the key scenes of the various plays. I also like the fact that it was written a long time ago for children and yet it still works. I'm not sure kids today would appreciate it, bu ...more
Shakespeare is so difficult to wade through. Charles and Mary Lamb took difficult language and made the stories accessible enough that my 6 year old and I have enjoyed getting to know these classics. Of course, we used Barbie dolls and stuff animals to represent all the different characters so that we wouldn't get completely lost, but still... :)

I'm blessed enough to have my grandmother's 1923 edition published by The MacMillan Company. Not sure if the illustrations the same as the original firs
If you aren't familiar enough with Shakespeare to follow along without getting lost, or if you're taking your kids to see one of his plays, this book is invaluable. I began taking my three daughters to performances by a Shakespeare company that would visit our town each year when they were nine. Before we went, we'd read the version in the Charles and Mary Lamb book. The first play was Twelfth Night and I think they were laughing more than the adults because they understood the story, knew the c ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rabbitprincess rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want a non-threatening intro to Shakespeare
A very good way to introduce kids to the stories of Shakespeare. Apparently I found Comedy of Errors just as hilarious then as I do now, and I was very indignant with Regan and Goneril's treatment of their father Lear ("I would never do that to MY dad"). And anything that makes Hamlet accessible to a Grade 6 student is probably a good thing.

Also am I crazy or does Shakespeare have an earring on the cover of the Puffin Classics edition?? I totally think he does and was utterly amused by that disc
This book is a true jewel. A home schooling treasure. Oh the plays we read! Oh the wonderful conversations we had!

Iago's character in Othello lead to long talks about "tricky people" (predators) and the different things they do to allure people. We talked about why people would write humorous comedies as we laughed through Much Ado about Nothing and Comedy of Errors. We talked about greed in "The Merchant of Venice" and true versus false friends in "Two Gentlemen from Verona" and gangs in "Romeo
Need to get to know some of the plays from Shakespeare that you haven't read or seen. This is the book. It is in the public domain so it is easy to read or listen too. I listened to a librivox version with Karen Savage as the narrator. It was great.
A quick accessible read. Meant for children as an introduction to Shakespeare. Dismissing that from my mind I thought:
Not all plays were entirely enjoyable nor rich as I suspect they might have been in the original text if by chance were deciphered by a future me with the sufficient amount of patience to linger on the difficult lines and language of the distant era- in fact I found a couple painfully raw- but all provide an easy clean view of the plays.
Perhaps suitable for acquiring a backgrou
I have used this with now seven children for home schooling. No, it's not Shakespeare's Shakespeare, it's Charles and Mary Lamb's rendition.

It is a great way to introduce the Shakespeare to a younger child as a way to get a grasp of the story. Then we read the real Shakespeare version and you are able to enjoy the story and the way Shakespeare writes without trying to figure out the characters, plot etc.

And I might add, it is a good way to become familiar with the tales if you are an adult too.

I enjoyed reading this book. It contains most of Shakespeare's plays which are given as more than just summaries. They are tales which are give the whole story of the play, many time quoting parts of it, too.

Even though, I learnt the plot of all these plays that doesn't stop me from reading them myself. I think it actually helped me pick which ones I want to read first. For example, having read Hamlet and As You Like It already and currently reading Romeo and Juliet, I would like to read next T
2.5 stars.
This is bowdlerized Shakespeare and little more.
All the enjoyment I got out of this collection was thanks to Marina Warner's introduction, which does much to provide context and explain the purpose and intent of the Lambs. As historical documentation and an exercise in bowdlerization, editing, condensation and translation, it is a fascinating document, but the shortened and censored stories have, for the most part, been stripped of their vitality and ambiguities, becoming one-sided and
Rebecca Reid
I recalled I’d read summaries of Shakespeare in eighth grade English class, so I determined to find the volume that we’d read. I discovered Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, originally published in 1807, and I’m almost certain that was my eighth grade exposure. It was time to read the volume in full. While I’m glad I rediscovered this classic and it has a place still I'm sure, I’m hesitant to recommend it for children today.

It’s not to say that there isn’t a place for play summarie
I read this book because I wanted to have a basic knowledge of Shakespeare's stories. Because, let's face it, it's likely that I won't read all of his production.

The book is directed to children and youth, but to be honest I wouldn't read all of these stories to children. I mean The Tempest suggests that keeping Caliban as slave is okay because he's a son of evil witch and lazy and ugly. And The Merchant of Venice has a old stereotype of evil, greedy Jew.

Also the stories are simplified. Most o
This book seems like a good one to include in a unit study of Shakespeare. The summaries here would be a good way to introduce the plays to a young child, and then have them read the actual play. I believe they will understand them better with some foreknowledge.

However, just by reading these stories, I have come to believe that Shakespeare wasn't the great literary genius people claim he was. (Don't hurt me for saying that, please!) When I read Othello in my literature class this year, I though
P Ukil
Shakespeare's is considered to be one of the greatest contributions to English literature. I, once tried to read the unabridged, not retold version of Shakespeare but got fed up due to the difficulty of that old and boring language in addition to the prelonged texts. When I procured this retold version I was relieved and immediately started reading it in a haste so that I could taste Shakespeare's as quickly as possible. Slowly I realized that reading this book in a haste meant reading just for ...more
Yurim Kim
(*This is not that I read, but here is not have the book that I read. So, I write a review in here.)

..As soon as I finshed reading, I thought it was so difficult to being Grade 7. Whew~ It had many hard words for me.
However, it was better to read a book, because it summary all(not quite) of the tales from Shakespeare.

My favorite was 'Hamlet' who I felt pathetic.
If uncle didn't love sister-in-law, at least didn't greed, 'Hamlet' would be better than this.

It's hard to translate. Next time, I want
The book is mooched from Amelia and her sister from Malaysia.

I have mooched for an original complete tales of Shakespeare from Robert in the UK but the book hasn't arrived yet. This book by the Lamb husband and wife is supposed to be a simpler version of Shakespeare's long and beautiful English words. I love his works and most of his stories have been used as course materials during my college, high school and even middle school years, so I'm pretty much familiar with them. The only thing is, so
Nicholas Whyte

It's really very good - a retelling of Shakespeare's dramas, which are not really easy reading for today's reader (or even the reader of 1807) in digestible prose, aimed at sophisticated teenagers. It's surprising what is censored and what is kept in, given how we tend to imagine nineteenth-century senisibilities - the blinding in King Lear is out, and the detail of Antiochus' incest (and Marina's life in the brothel) in Pericles, but so for some reason is
Although Shakespeare's stories are famous and widely-known, there are still many I have not heard of. His stories are still as hard to understand as it was back in 9th grade when i had to read Romeo and Juliet. At least having read that, now i am able to understand the story better. His tragedies are indeed very tragic and although people find pity and empathy for the protagonists, people are at the same time, enjoying themselves over the pain and suffering of the protagonists. Without pain and ...more
1)This is very easy for non English speakers who find Shakespeare a little difficult.
2)It's an alternative for people who don't like plays but want to know a little bit about Shakespeare's most known writings.
3)For children whose parents want them to dig a little deeper into their reading.

Generally, I really enjoyed this, especially since they're short stories so it was one every night before I went to bed. Very quick, easy read.
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Charles Lamb (London, 10 February 1775 – Edmonton, 27 December 1834) was an English essayist with Welsh heritage, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847).

More about Charles Lamb...
Essays of Elia More Tales from Shakespeare To War in a Stringbag The Adventures of Ulysses A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig & Other Essays

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