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The Shakespeare Handbooks. Hamlet; a guide.

122p. 1-56663-359-1. King Learr; a guide 116p. 1-56663-363-X, Macbeth; a guide: 90p. 1-56663-361-3. Romeo & Juliet a guide. 112p. 1-56663-365-6. by Alistair (McCallum, Ivan R. Dee. bibliogs. c2001. $8.95each. JSA

McCallum, an experienced teacher and writer, grew up in Stratford-on-Avon. His intelligent, straightforward descriptions of all aspects of the plays--background, plot, important passages, comments from critics--will help students and teachers, especially those students just tackling Shakespeare for the first time, appreciate Shakespeare's genius. These four plays are required curriculum in just about every high school in America, so the usefulness of these guides is clear. The books are relatively brief, an asset really, especially since McCallum's style is so clear. Here is an example from Romeo & Juliet, when Romeo learns that he has been banished because of the killing of Tybalt: "Romeo is devastated at the news, and the Friar's attempts to console him only make him more angry and wretched. Life without Juliet is worthless." (there follows a quote from the play of Romeo's speech):
 "'Tis torture and not mercy. Heaven is here
 Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog
 And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
 Live here in heaven and may look on her,
 But Romeo may not."

De-mystifying Shakespeare for students is always welcome. Claire Rosser, KLIATT
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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