A Midsummer Night's Dream is perhaps Shakespeare's most popular play, particularly as a first introduction to Shakespeare for children--filled as it is with a marvelous mixture of aristocrats, workers, and fairies. For the Oxford Shakespeare edition, Peter Holland's introduction looks at dreams and dreamers, tracing the materials out of which Shakespeare constructs his world of night and shadows.
`...he writes absorbingly about fairy lore, the dance-like interchangeability of love-partners, the play's intense self-reflexiveness, and its teasingly simple yet maddeningly reverbative structure.'
English Studies Offprint from Volume 77 Number 1, January 1996
`The commentary is admirably lucid and undogmatic on textual variants ... The introduction is of the kind that ponders and explores. Holland's method is to take each aspect or element of the play and consider it in the light of earlier traditions ... his critical position emerges unobtrusively but persuasively from the attested facts.'
M.M. Mahoud, YES, 27, 1996