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SHAKSPERE READING BOOK:
BEING A SELECTION OF
SHAKSPERE'S PLAYS ABRIDGED FOR THE USE
OF SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC READINGS.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM. THE TRAGEDY
H. COURTHOPE BOWEN, M.A.
CASSELL & COMPANY LIMITED:
THE MOST INGENIOUS ACTOR
TRUE LOVER OF SHAKSPERE'S PLAYS,
ON THE CHARACTER AND OBJECT OF THE BOOK. being in my opinion—and, I believe, in the opinion of
a great many other schoolmasters--highly advisable that the art of reading should be taught in all schools, and urgently necessary that it should be taught in all Board Schools and Middle Class Schools, this book has been arranged for the use of the senior classes with a view to promoting that object. For the pupils who attend our First Grade Schools it may not be necessary to be able to read well, or to be able to pronounce their native tongue with elegance and clearness; or it may be found to be better to rely upon their acquiring this power
elsewhere than at school. But those who have at heart the training and welfare of the pupils who attend our Middle Class Schools and Board Schools, and who, moreover, have some practical experience in the matter, are only too keenly aware how great a stumbling-block rough and inelegant speech is in the way of those whose advancement they are anxious to promote; and, furthermore, they are convinced that a training in right and harmonious speech is even more important from an educational point of view than the best musical training that can be given. Now the best and indeed the only ways of effecting this training in right and harmonious speech are to make use of reading lessons -not with the object of conveying instruction in botany, biology, and physics, but as lessons in reading, and to see that our pupils commit to memory choice
and poetry, and recite them with proper and careful attention to tone, emphasis, and accent. Books on botany, biology, and physics are not fitted for use as lessons in reading, both because their subject matter does not allow of their being written in a style which can be accepted as a model of language, and also because the subject matter, consisting as it does of assertions, and arguments, and theories, so important in themselves, must inevitably and constantly draw away the reader's attention from the manner of the language to the matter which it contains and it is the manner, be it remembered, in which we are supposed to be giving instruction. Of course, in order to read properly, it is essential that the