What is No Fear Shakespeare?
No Fear Shakespeare is a line of books with modern English translations side-by-side Shakespeare’s original plays and sonnets. The No Fear Shakespeare series provides Shakespeare’s original language on the left-hand page and the modern translation on the right-hand page. The modern English versions make reading Shakespeare’s plays much easier. However, this modernization comes at a price. It reduces the dramatic impact and experience that comes from reading Shakespeare’s plays as they were originally written. However, No Fear Shakespeare puts the original text and translated text side-by-side. That makes the books a great tool for readers and first-time students of Shakespeare’s plays.
Shakespeare wrote his plays to be experienced. They were written to be performed by actors in a theater. It is easy to overlook the fact that Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be watched and heard rather than read. Additionally, they are difficult to read because of the centuries of language evolution that has occurred between then and now. Nevertheless, Shakespeare holds an enduring place in literary history. There are memorable characters, gripping stories, skillful wordsmithing, and quotable quotes.
No Fear Shakespeare is a great tool helping to turn the drudgery of reading old English into something more pleasurable. The books provide a readable side-by-side, line-by-line translation. The original language on one side and its meaning in understandable modern English on the other. This eliminates the necessity of reading and constantly consulting footnotes.
No Fear Shakespeare – a companion tool
A complete listing and description of characters precedes the play and completes the book. That’s all! No study questions, no copious endnotes, and no handwringing. You can choose to “study” the plays or just learn to read them for enjoyment. I suggest the latter. If you do want to flesh out your Shakespeare reading with just a little extra perspective, the No Fear Shakespeare, A Companion is the answer. Part 1 humbly claims to cover everything you need to know about his life (there’s not much, really), career, and world. In similar humility, Part 2 claims to provide everything you really need to know about each of his plays; divided into the “top ten,” the ones that “show you’re really well-read,” the plays with which to “seriously impress your teacher,” and those for “hardcore Shakespeareans.” For each of these plays there is a brief synopsis and then three or four brief essays that encompass what is the most important to know/remember about each play. I’m fairly versed in Shakespeare (I’ve read a couple of the “hardcore” plays) and I found these essays insightful. For instance, I’ve never coupled Romeo and Juliet with Midsummer’s Night Dream nor considered they have parallel plots, were likely written in sequence, etc. It was new perspective. I love it! There’s a concluding “bonus” section on poetry that includes the Sonnets and his two long poems. Shakespearean plays require a certain caution. They are ribald and bawdy. When we read them in the original language this can sometimes be missed. When we see them performed, it’s almost always a noticeable element. By providing a relevant modern translation, you might, in some instances, find you would rather have the meaning obscured. Just so you know! Books range from approximately 250 to 350 pgs. (Source:rainbowresource.com/)
What Does Goodreads Have to Say About No Fear Shakespeare?
No Fear Shakespeare: A Companion gives you the straight scoop on everything you really need to know about Shakespeare, including
- What’s so great about Shakespeare?
- How did Shakespeare get so smart?
- Five mysteries of Shakespeare’s life and why they matter
- Did someone else write Shakespeare’s plays?
- Where did Shakespeare get his ideas?
- The five greatest Shakespeare Characters
Let’s face it. Hearing people talk about Shakespeare can be pretty annoying. Particularly if you feel like you don’t understand him. When people talk about which of Shakespeare’s plays they like best, or what they thought of so-and-so’s performance, they often treat Shakespeare like membership in some exclusive club. If you don’t “get” him, if you don’t go to see his plays, you’re not truly educated or literate. You might be tempted to ask whether the millions of people who say they love Shakespeare actually know what they’re talking about or are they just sheep? (Source: goodreads.com)