Shakespeare as Children’s Literature

Edwardian Retellings in Words and Pictures


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About the Book

Although William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, he traditionally receives little notice in studies of children’s literature. However, there is a fascinating relationship between Shakespeare and children’s interests, and the Bard’s works have been successfully adapted for children’s use over several centuries.
This book continues and parallels the author’s previous study, Chaucer as Children’s Literature, as part of a greater endeavor to evaluate the significance of traditional literature retold as children’s literature in modern English studies. It examines the ways in which William Shakespeare’s stories have been adapted for children, particularly in Mary and Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, which was almost immediately recognized as a classic of children’s literature when it was first published in 1807. The author describes the significance of the Lamb’s Tales as the pre-eminent children’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s literature, focusing particularly on the lavishly illustrated Edwardian editions which used pictures to convey Shakespeare’s stories for children.
Other topics include Victorian alternatives to the Lambs’ stories, including anthologies from David Murray Smith, Abby Sage Richardson, and Mary Seymour; the lavish illustrations of Shakespeare’s stories found in antique English textbooks; Shakespeare in nursery books, including sophisticated collections from Mary Macleod, Thomas Carter, Alice S. Hoffman, and other noted authors; and Shakespeare in multi-volume American collections, including The Children’s Hour, Journeys through Bookland, and The Junior Classics.

About the Author(s)

Velma Bourgeois Richmond, a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, is a professor emerita of English at Holy Names University, Oakland, California. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Velma Bourgeois Richmond
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 371
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, tables, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3781-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1053-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Contexts for Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare      7

2. The Tradition of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare      25

3. Lamb’s Tales Continued: Completion, Addition, and Selection      71

4. Victorian Alternatives      110

5. Edwardian Elegance and Exuberance: Retellings Large and Small      155

6. Shakespeare in Schoolbooks      230

7. Home Libraries, Literary Histories, and Pedagogical Advice      273

Epilogue      321

Tables      325

Chapter Notes      333

Selected Bibliography      345

Index      351

Book Reviews & Awards

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“comprehensive…a pleasure to read. Highly recommended”—Choice;“Richmond has excavated a rich treasure trove…will find much to tantalize”—Shakespeare Quarterly; “a virtually encyclopedic catalog…a compelling compendium of texts, illustrations and insights related to the art of Shakespeare adaptations for children”—; “a clearly written, carefully researched, entertaining study…makes the importance of Shakespeare to children’s literature delightfully apparent”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly.