Romeo and Juliet: The Study Guide Edition out now in paperback and Kindle!

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You can buy Romeo and Juliet: The Study Guide Edition in paperback or Kindle.

“Clearly Francis Gilbert is a gifted and charismatic teacher,” Philip Pullman, author of ‘Northern Lights’.

“Gilbert writes so well that you half-suspect he could give up the day job,” The Independent.

“A great teacher,” Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight.

Are you struggling to understand Shakespeare’s classic play ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Are you a teacher who needs a really good edition of the play which will enable students to understand the play’s complex language and cover all the key areas required to get a good grade in an examination or coursework?

This brilliant edition of Shakespeare’s great love story may be the answer to your prayers. Written by a teacher who has taught the text for more than twenty years in various secondary schools, this version is aimed at students who must analyse the text in depth or teachers wanting to deliver outstanding lessons on it. The book contains the complete text together with a parallel modern translation, which most students will be able to read independently or in small groups: the language is entirely appropriate for ages 11-18 years.

The text is broken up by exercises on every important section of the play, with fill-in-the-gaps tasks to check understanding, questions to aid in-depth analysis, creative response tasks and tips on acting out the play. The first section of the book is an up-to-date study guide which explains the plot, characters, language and imagery in detail, with visual diagrams and links to relevant websites. The final section of the book contains an exhaustive explanation of how to write top grade essays on the play, including sample A* answers as well as summaries of significant literary criticism. There are plenty of pointers to help students develop their own personal responses, including thought-provoking thematic questions.

This book covers the following areas in depth:

It checks basic understanding by providing fill-in-the-gaps exercises on every important part of the play.

It looks at why students should study ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

It examines Shakespeare’s story, looking at the structure & themes: love, hatred and the feud, fate and the use of time.

It discusses the contexts (the background) of the play: its different versions, including Brooke’s poem upon which the play is based, Nashe’s ‘Have With You to Saffron Walden’ (1596)and ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’.

It investigates the nature of Shakespearean tragedy, discussing the rules Aristotle set out for this genre.

It explores the world of Shakespeare’s theatre and The Globe, discussing social and political contexts.
It provides an overview of various productions of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

It contains a detailed section on Shakespeare’s language, examining his imagery and grammar, exploring his use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

It contains a very helpful section on his use of rhythm and rhyme, setting exercises which will help students really understand this complex subject.

There is a long section on his use of characterisations, discussing all the main characters in depth.

As well as the play itself and a very accessible modern translation of it, there is a detailed summary of every act and scene.

There’s an excellent glossary of all the difficult words, including vocabulary students need to learn.

There are a number of speaking and listening activities that are very easy to do and really aid understanding.

There is a readable account of the literary criticism of the play which looks at feminist, Marxist, cultural materialist and queer theory approaches to the text.

There is a detailed account of how to write a good essay on the play which includes a dissection of sub-standard essay and an example of an A* essay.

Finally, there is a section which helps students compare the play with filmed versions & performances.

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The Turn of the Screw: A Study Guide

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What ghost story inspired James’ novella?

Are the ghosts in the novel real or figments of a neurotic imagination?
How does James use an unreliable narrator to create suspense?
How does James generate such a sinister atmosphere in the story?
For the price of a chocolate bar, you can become an expert on one of the greatest novellas in the language.

This is a detailed study guide for anybody either studying or teaching Henry James’s novella. It is tailored to help students write an excellent piece of coursework on the book, or assist them with studying for an exam — but it will be of interest to the general reader too. For the teacher, it quotes important passages in the book and offers literary analysis of them. The guide is distinctive because it is a) modern in its approach b) encourages a personal response to the text — vital if a candidate is going to get a higher mark in an assessment. There is a detailed discussion of the context in which James’s work arose and an exploration of how different readers might interpret the text now. Lively and engaging, it is written by an experienced teacher who understands what needs to be covered in a study guide. An excellent resource for GCSE and A Level students, or anyone studying the book at school or university.

To sum up, this study guide is useful in the following ways:

It is a great resource for students aiming for top grades;
It offers a fantastic stimulus for encouraging students to develop personal responses to the text, which are vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;
It could prove to be a great classroom resource for teachers too: the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;
It is written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in “real” classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

Pride & Prejudice — A Study Guide

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You can buy the book here on Amazon.

Why did Jane Austen never marry?

Who shows pride and who shows prejudice?

How and why does Austen create comedy in the novel?

This is an up-to-date study guide to Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, aimed at 15-19 year olds and the general reader. The guide is modern in its approach and provides all the necessary information to get a top grade in an exam and/or coursework. It is particularly useful because it not only provides the key details about Austen’s life and the social and literary influences upon the text, but also offers a detailed textual analysis of key passages in the book.

If students read the last section of the book carefully, they will not only learn about the vital sections of the text quickly, but also see how top-grade analysis can be conducted. Discussion points are provided so that students can think about the key issues related to the text. The second section of the guide would make a great classroom resource for a teacher wanting to cover the text quickly and thoroughly because students could read the key passages highlighted in the guide and answer the discussion points in their exercise books or in group discussions. This would give them invaluable practice for an exam or coursework.

The study guide is essential reading because:

It’s a great resource for students aiming for top grades;

It encourages students to develop personal responses to the text, which is vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;

It’s a great classroom resource for teachers too: the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions.

The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Study Guide

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For the price of a chocolate bar, you can become an expert on one of the greatest novels in the language.

Can you answer these questions?

Do you know why “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the most unusual Sherlock Holmes story?

Why did Conan Doyle feel so ambivalent about the famous detective he created?

How did Conan Doyle employ elements of the Gothic in his story?

Is ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ the first modern detective story?

If you can’t, maybe you should read this guide! This is a detailed, lively study guide on Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Above all, it is ideal for students studying the text for various examinations and coursework, as well as the general reader. The guide contains a detailed explanation of the contexts of the novella: how and why it came to be written, and the ways in which it invented the concept of the modern detective novel. In contrast to many other study guides, it encourages the reader to develop his or her own personal response to the novel. It does this by including detailed analysis of key passages from the book, together with important discussion points. There is a useful reading list, and a lively, engaging style is adopted throughout.

The guide is written by an experienced English teacher who understands the concepts, facts and literary techniques that students need to learn about when writing about a text. It could be useful to teachers as well, particularly the second section which focuses upon textual analysis and generating a personal response from students.

To sum up, this study guide is useful in the following ways:

It is a great resource for students aiming for top grades;

It offers a fantastic stimulus for encouraging students to develop personal responses to the text, which are vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;

It could prove to be a great classroom resource for teachers too; the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;

It is written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in “real” classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

Far From The Madding Crowd: A Study Guide

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For the price of a chocolate bar, you can become an expert on one of the greatest novels in the language.

Do you know the answer to the following questions?

Why was ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ so important to Hardy?

Why could it be seen as one of the first “feminist” novels?

Is Hardy’s story really all about sex?

How did the pastoral genre influence the writing of the book?

If you’re wondering what the answers to these questions are, then maybe you should read this guide to Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’. It is ideal for students studying the text for A Level, but could be helpful for high-achieving GCSE students looking for A*s, and could clarify some basic points about literary theory for English Literature undergraduate students if they’re struggling to understand key ideas about contexts, structure and theme, and analysing quotation. This guide really encourages students to think for themselves with searching, open-ended questions which will help them develop personal responses which are vital if they going to attain higher grades.

The study guide is useful in the following ways because it is:

A great resource for students aiming for top grades;

A fantastic stimulus for encouraging students to develop personal responses to the text, which are vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;

A great classroom resource for teachers too; the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;

Written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in real classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

Jane Eyre — A Study Guide

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You can buy the book here on Amazon.

Can you answer these questions?

How and why does Bronte present sex as a dangerous activity in Jane Eyre?

Why are the elements of earth, fire, water and air important in the novel?

Is Jane Eyre a subversive novel?

Is Rochester a hero or villain?

If you’re stuck for answers, then maybe you should read this study guide. For the price of a chocolate bar, you can become an expert on one of the greatest novels in the language. This is an extremely useful guide to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It is ideal for students studying the text for A Level or equivalent qualification, but will be helpful to able GCSE students looking for high marks. This guide really encourages students to think for themselves with searching, open-ended questions: this helps to develop personal responses which are vital to attaining higher grades.

The study guide is useful in the following ways because it is:

A great resource for students aiming for top grades;

A great classroom resource for teachers too: the important sections of the novel are quoted in full, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;

Written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in real classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

Frankenstein — A Study Guide

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You can buy the book here on Amazon.

What dream led to the writing of Frankenstein?

Do you know the answer to these questions?

Why is the novel also called The Modern Prometheus?

Why has “Frankenstein” become the most famous horror story ever written?

What famous philosophers influenced the writing of Frankenstein?

Why is the Monster such a tragic figure in the novel?

This is a study devoted to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which will help both teachers and pupils. It contains a lively series of essays on the different contexts of the novel, its structure and themes, and also offers a great deal of analysis of the text itself. While it is authoritative, it encourages readers to think for themselves — which is vital if they are going to attain at a high level.

To sum up, this study guide is useful in the following ways:

It is a great resource for students aiming for top grades;

It offers a fantastic stimulus for encouraging students to develop personal responses to the text, which are vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;

It could prove to be a great classroom resource for teachers too; the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;

It is written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in “real” classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

How To Get A Great English Degree

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Are you studying English at university either as your main degree or as a subsidiary subject? Are you finding it challenging? Is some of the reading very difficult? Are you struggling to write good essays? Are you uncertain about how to use references and sources? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then this lively, short guide to studying English at university could be what you’ve been looking for!

Written by an experienced teacher and university lecturer, this book covers all the basics you need to know to achieve highly on an English course at university. It discusses:
how to tackle difficult reading lists,
how to write brilliant essays,
how to analyse most literary texts including poetry,
how to get to grips with literary theory,
the texts you really need to know about, including a section on “The Bible” and the different literary eras;
the websites you really need to look at.

This book is ideal for students just starting their English degrees, or for someone seriously considering embarking upon one. Undergraduates in their second and third years should find it useful to help them double-check they’ve got the basics covered. The book contains a number of useful case studies based on real students’ experiences of doing English at university and is jammed packed with advice from students themselves who have overcome their difficulties.

Star-crossed: Romeo and Juliet for Teenagers

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Written by a teacher who is also a best-selling author, ‘Star-crossed’ is a modern version of Romeo and Juliet which updates Shakespeare’s classic play in a very entertaining fashion. In some ways, it is faithful to the original text, providing a modern translation for every speech in the play. In other ways, it uses poetic licence to make Shakespeare’s language accessible to teenagers: bad language has been used when appropriate to the dialogue. This play-script is not suitable for children under the age of fifteen.