Shakespeare for Children

Amy Scott-Douglass

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare for Children

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This chapter explores the philosophies of children's Shakespeare, and theories and practices of adaptation over the last two centuries. It describes several adaptations by the major figures of children's Shakespeare: Henrietta and Thomas Bowdler, Mary and Charles Lamb, Edith Nesbit, Marchette Chutte, Leon Garfield, Lois Burdett, Marcia Williams and Tina Packer. The fascinating versions of Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice provide a more complete picture of children's Shakespeare. A study of several representative adaptations shows that the extent to which a writer uses a children's Shakespeare adaptation as an opportunity to ‘express their ideas on some social problem’ depends not upon the writer's era so much as it depends upon the individual writer. One difference between current children's Shakespeareans and early ones is that the early shapers of children's Shakespeare recognized that they were doing just that: shaping children.

Keywords: children; Shakespeare; adaptation; Titus Andronicus; The Merchant of Venice; Mary and Charles Lamb; Edith Nesbit; Marchette Chutte; Leon Garfield; Lois Burdett

Chapter.  13782 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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