Get the Plot Straight First

In trying to parse the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I got a tad mixed up about who was who, which is probably why I gave up on it years ago. After the introductory lectures 1 and 2 in the How to Read and Understand Shakespeare course, he starts in with this particular play in lectures 3 and 4 so I was attempting to get the characters straight before plunging in.

While rummaging for editions of Shakespeare, I discovered that I own a book called Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary & Language Companion by David Crystal & Ben Crystal. It is mostly a glossary but does have a synopsis for each play in the back as does my Cambridge Text Shakespeare with the Rockwell Kent illustrations.


The course recommends either the Norton Shakespeare or the Riverside Shakespeare because you get gobs of explanatory notes, essays and “academic apparatuses” whatever exactly they may be. I don’t however have $70 to $200 so shall have to limp along with an amalgamation of the Cambridge Text from 1936, which has no numerical designations for the lines but has some notes in the back of the book for each play, and the Illustrated Stratford edition by Chancellor Press which at least has the lines numbered making it easier to find your place, but has no explanatory notes.

Then I will need to wrap Isaac Asimov’s excellent book on Shakespeare into the mix and juggle the four books for each play. I’m just one of those people who likes to have things lined up, to get the comprehensive overview. It’s probably as well I can’t afford one of the big boys. The Riverside Shakespeare looks like an enormous book.

And in other book news…..

I received as a gift to go with my art courses, a beautiful book called 17th Century Art and Architecture by Ann Sutherland Harris. I was delighted to see that it has extensive text and discussion as I have no books on this period. Most of my art books are either about modern art and architecture, or early Renaissance frescoes and paintings.


For an early Christmas present I bought myself Imaginative Realism by James Gurney. I enjoy his blog and he often cites good books and artists, so after borrowing one of his Dinotopia books from the library, I thought his own technique books would inspire me.

It is for more advanced artists, but I like his ideas on fantasy and creating maps, worlds, animals and machines from your own imagination, often with a bit of tweaking of an object or creature that you see every day. I am not a realist, tending more toward illustration and line work, but he’s got some dandy ideas.

“Dandy” is a word that isn’t used much any more. I quite like it.

It is a dandy word.


While creating this post I thought I should pick a different title, something clearer for search engines, but I really just wanted to call it what I called it. That’s the fun of getting the plot straight.


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2 Comments on “Get the Plot Straight First”

  1. Roseanne Dix Says:

    Yes perfect title. Like the sound of that book too…how inriguing to paint what you dont see – I love the way thats put down on paper. SO much better than ‘paint whats in your head” …!!!

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