Bard rates high in school book poll

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SHAKESPEARE’S works remain some of our most fondly remembered books from school, so says a recently-compiled list of the nation’s favourite school books.

Four of the Bard’s plays appear in the top 20 that has been drawn up by Oxford Home Schooling.

The highest ranked was Macbeth in sixth place in the poll of 2,000 people, with 17.71 per cent of the votes.

Romeo and Juliet (17.16 per cent) and Midsummer Night’s Dream (15.71 per cent) came in at seventh and eighth place, respectively.

Much Ado About Nothing (5.79 per cent) was listed as the 17th most remembered.

Number one in the list was Animal Farm by George Orwell, with 27.08 per cent of the vote.

The Bard’s Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night were put forward by the 2,000 polled, but not enough to make it into the top 20.

top ten bookDr Nick Smith, Principal at Oxford Home Schooling, added: “Shakespeare’s impact on culture is impossible to ignore. It’s not surprising that so many of his works appeared in the top 20 of the nation’s favourite school books.

“Everyone has their own shortlist of the Bard’s greatest works, but I think what everyone agrees upon is an appreciation of the wit, playfulness and drama that feature in all his works.”

Stuart Hampton Reeves, Head of the British Shakespeare Association, said: “It is great news that Shakespeare has four of his works in the nation’s top 20 school books.

“His works have inspired generations of young minds for four hundred years and this is evidence that he is more popular than ever.

“These are exactly the plays I would have chosen: A Midsummer Night’s Dream for its lyrical beauty, Romeo and Juliet for its powerful depiction of tragic love and Macbeth for its gripping psychological exploration of what it is like to be a tyrant. Shakespeare belongs to all of us but especially to the next generation who are clearly enjoying his works.”