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Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare) Paperback – Apr 15 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: SparkNotes (April 15 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586638459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586638450
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Newbia on June 29 2004
Format: Paperback
This is only partially a review of the story, but mostly a review on how much I love the No Fear series. It's SO useful. You have Shakespeare on one page, and the 'translation' into modern English on one page. I understand Shakespeare so much better now. I thought I understood Shakespeare when I read version where you have a footnote at the bottom saying what 'grandshire phrase' or something means. I did get the gist of it, but now I understand what the characters are saying and feeling, and I get all the little jokes. I can appreciate Shakespeare now, which was impossible before (then again, I'm only 12, it's probably easier for other people).
Not to mention in other versions I would read a little bit, glance down at the footnotes, read, glance down, re-read to find the word in the footnote, et cetera and it was very tedious. Now I just read a page of Shakespeare and then a page of modern, or vice versa. I do vice versa because then I understand how the character feels before reading the lines out loud, making this version very useful for putting on the play.
There is one problem. In most editions, you have various essays and notes. They don't have this in here. I don't take of stars for this because I personally never read the essays, but some people might.
Anyway, the story itself. Shakespeare is very poetic, and you can appreciate it more if you know what he's talking about. How ever, I hate 'love at first sight' with a burning passion. If you get over that, the characters and plot are engaging.
I read this because I was in the play. But this edition is so good I'm going to read other Shakespeare plays for my own enjoyment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 103 reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
No Fear is the best Shakespeare Ever June 29 2004
By Newbia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is only partially a review of the story, but mostly a review on how much I love the No Fear series. It's SO useful. You have Shakespeare on one page, and the 'translation' into modern English on one page. I understand Shakespeare so much better now. I thought I understood Shakespeare when I read version where you have a footnote at the bottom saying what 'grandshire phrase' or something means. I did get the gist of it, but now I understand what the characters are saying and feeling, and I get all the little jokes. I can appreciate Shakespeare now, which was impossible before (then again, I'm only 12, it's probably easier for other people).
Not to mention in other versions I would read a little bit, glance down at the footnotes, read, glance down, re-read to find the word in the footnote, et cetera and it was very tedious. Now I just read a page of Shakespeare and then a page of modern, or vice versa. I do vice versa because then I understand how the character feels before reading the lines out loud, making this version very useful for putting on the play.
There is one problem. In most editions, you have various essays and notes. They don't have this in here. I don't take of stars for this because I personally never read the essays, but some people might.
Anyway, the story itself. Shakespeare is very poetic, and you can appreciate it more if you know what he's talking about. How ever, I hate 'love at first sight' with a burning passion. If you get over that, the characters and plot are engaging.
I read this because I was in the play. But this edition is so good I'm going to read other Shakespeare plays for my own enjoyment.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A helpful translation, but not much more March 12 2009
By BookBuff9293 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is what it says it is--a translation. It provides modern text opposite the page featuring the original text. For mere translational purposes, this book can't be beat.
It claims to include "plenty of helpful commentary," but I found such comments to be lacking! Act 1 has sixteen comments and Act 2 has twenty-three, but from here on out, the numbers dwindle. There are no comments in all of Act 5, only two in all of Act 3, and only three in Act 4. That's only forty-four comments for a book some two hundred pages long!
Perhaps there wasn't much cause for commentary, or some Acts (such as 3) were pretty short, but I would have liked some and felt it would have helped--plus SparkNotes made me expect a comment to be on every page! Naturally, I was disappointed by this, especially considering the book highlights this feature on its cover. Plenty of things my teacher clued my classmates and me in on weren't in the book.
For example, when Romeo buys the poison from the poor apothecary in Mantua, he gives the apothecary a "ducat." My teacher said a ducat is a gold coin; from the text I couldn't infer this, and there was no note from SparkNotes to explain for me.
The book also advertises its character analysis, which is in fact quite shallow and brief, providing little if any real insight.
I wasn't expecting some college-level examination of Romeo and Juliet, but I was expecting to receive what was promised on the book cover--and I didn't expect what was promised to be skimpy!
In addition, I swear some of the translations aren't correct. Just inferring from the text, I came up with more probable translations than the book did at times. For example, take these lines from the play and the translation provided:
Original text: "By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint/And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs."
Translation: "I swear I'll tear you apart limb by limb and spread your body parts around to feed the hungry animals in the graveyard."
Animals? The original text in absolutely NO way suggests there are animals living in the churchyard. SparkNotes needs to think beyond what can literally be hungry--humans, animals, living things--and think about literary devices. This was, to me, personification; the churchyard itself is hungry, hungry for fresh blood, new bodies, that those who are buried there are so ancient the churchyard needs to be added to. Perhaps I'm wrong, but even if I am, I'm convinced SparkNotes is equally wrong.
So, my advice to potential buyers: Know that this book is just what it sounds like--a great translation (though, if you ask me, questionable at times) and not much more. If you want more, like considerably in-depth character analysis or plentiful explanations of Shakespearean language, I suggest you look elsewhere.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Shakespeare Made Simple Oct. 28 2008
By Miamigrrl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a lifelong Shakespeare fan who has recently discovered the No Fear series of "translations" of the plays. Although I had considered myself comfortable with Elizabethan dialect, I've learned a lot from the No Fear
books. However, especially in Romeo and Juliet, one is struck by how the
pleasure in reading the play is in the language, not the plot. Side-by-side with modern English, Shakespeare's poetry is even more luminous.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
No Better Way to Read or Teach Shakespeare Jan. 31 2009
By Big D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Can't imagine a better way to read or teach Shakespeare than the No Fear Shakespeare concept....orginal text on the left hand page, contemporary "translation"--our language--on the right hand page.

The tragic beauty of Romeo and Juliet gets better time. Young love is still young love, but the older one gets, the more young love is apprectiated, the youth of the lovers, their hopes, their dreams, their obsessions, their foolishness, their folly and, yes, their endearments and their commitment to honor and to each other.

There is a reason Shakespeare never disappoints and this is one of them...and having the original text and the easily understood text right next to it makes this play especially moving and enjoyable.

The reader may well be surprised at how many quotes we take forgranted in modern laguage and idiom come from this play.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not a graphic novel Nov. 24 2009
By L. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a high school teacher for special needs students. I searched for a graphic novel of Romeo & Juliet and found this book. I thought that this book would have illustrations as well as current language, but there are no illustrations at all. It is very cool with the Shakespearean text on one side and the translated text on the other, but for my students who have difficulties reading text of any kind, illustrations would have been even better. I have definitely used this book with my instruction, so I do recommend it. I was disappointed when I received it, though, because based on the descriptions I read before I purchased it, I misunderstood that it was a graphic novel.


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