A Midsummer Night's Dream by Doreen Virtue
(The New Folger Library Shakespeare)

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Synopsis

Perhaps the most popular of all of Shakespeare's comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream humorously celebrates the vagaries of love. The approaching wedding festivities of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are delightfully crisscrossed with in-again, off-again romances of two young pairs of Athenian lovers; a fateful rivalry between the King and Queen of the Fairies; and the theatrical aspirations of a bumbling troupe of Athenian laborers. It all ends happily in wedding-night revelry complete with a play-within-a-play presented by the laborers to the ecstatic amusement of all. This edition, complete with explanatory footnotes, is reprinted from a standard British edition.

 

About Doreen Virtue

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William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.
 
Published January 1, 1941 by Penguin Classics. 144 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography, Children's Books, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Biographies & Memoirs, Action & Adventure, History, Comics & Graphic Novels, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ($16.99; PLB $16.89; Oct. 1996; 48 pp.; 0-8037-1784-6; PLB 0-8037-1785-7): Coville (Fortune's Journey, 1995, etc.) gracefully retells this famous comedy, retaining just enough of Shakespeare's language to lend a sense of the world of the play withou...

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Entertainment Weekly

When a movie director makes a point of respectfully citing the author in the title of an adapted literary classic — William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein — you can be sure that director has a not-so-modest Artistic Vision that involves swallowing...

May 14 1999 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

The Telegraph

I was particularly struck by Cheong Hae-Kyun playing Gabi (Oberon) and Jeong A-Young as Ajumi (Bottom), while the twin Pucks, or Duduri twins, in the shapes of Kim Sang-bo and Jeon Yung-Yong, were adept crowd-pleasers.

May 11 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

The Telegraph

With eloquent gesticulations they play out their mostly wordless courtship, assisted (and occasionally impeded) by the company of musicians, acrobats, comically inept ballerinas and Venya the dog, while the stage audience provides surreal obiter dicta (in Russian, with English surtitles).

Aug 15 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

The Telegraph

The gipsies’ fighting and arranged marriages chime with Shakespeare’s tale of jealous lovers and Egeus’s attempts to marry his child Hermia to a man she doesn’t love.

Jun 13 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

The Telegraph

As well as Ed Gaughan’s hilarious Quince there is a delightfully nerdy and asthmatic Oberon from Jonathan Broadbent, Ferdy Roberts makes a spectacularly disgruntled Puck while the endearingly chubby Mark Benton shines in a role I am not at liberty to reveal.

Feb 17 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Common Sense Media

Demetrius loves Hermia, but is loved by her friend Helena (Calista Flockhart).

May 19 2003 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Chicago Tribune

Deep in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a weaver named Nick Bottom, the kind of ordinary, clumsy, clueless, overweight, middle-age, Cubs-and-Old Style-loving guy who can get his head transformed into that of an ass without really noticing the change, blinks up in disbelief at a gorgeous fairy queen,...

Feb 16 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Chicago Tribune

Deep in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a weaver named Nick Bottom, the kind of ordinary, clumsy, clueless, overweight, middle-age, Cubs-and-Old Style-loving guy who can get his head transformed into that of an ass without really noticing the change, blinks up in disbelief at a gorgeous fairy queen,...

Feb 16 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

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But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 160,000 reviews.

Sep 01 1996 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Arts Fuse

Most great novels generate an organic, imaginative vision rooted in a sense of inevitability in the way they unfold;

Jun 05 2011 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

A Patchwork of Books

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Mar 12 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Project MUSE

In a lucid consideration of the evidence (he supplies a handy appendix of putative wedding-sources and scholarship about them), Williams makes quick work of this hypothesis: the circumstances of the proposed weddings, the character of aristocratic weddings in general (formal plays do not seem to ...

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Project MUSE

A versatile booth stage, "a design inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare's time," provided a portable playing space for A Midsummer Night's Dream, suitable for performances outdoors.

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Philly.com

His boss, Oberon — the king of the nighttime woods — is played with the strangest interpretation by Matt Tallman;

Jul 19 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Willamette Week

Putney portrays Helena’s understanding of her predicament—rejected by Demetrius and then harassed by a lovesick Lysander—with intelligence, verve and convincing emotion, and she punctuates her fieriest lines with nuance rather than blunt force.

Nov 21 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

Washingtonian

Topham is graceful but ballsy as the Queen of the Fairies, and her meek submission to Oberon after an interlude with Bottom seems to echo the “taming” of Amazon goddess Hippolyta by King Theseus.

Nov 29 2012 | Read Full Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Th...

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