Costa del Shakespeare is a hit with readers

A survey to gauge how much the average reader knows about literature has discovered that one person in ten believes Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to have been set in the Spanish beach resort of Magaluf.

File picture

Only slightly fewer people thought that To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s evisceration of racial attitudes in America’s deep south was actually the story of a battle in the First World War.

And seven per cent of those questioned were under the impression that Jackie Collins and not Charles Dickens had written Great Expectations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The survey of 2,000 book buyers, conducted for the travel firm, discovered that many were more attuned to the less highbrow end of the market, with 83 per cent correctly identifying a character called Christian Grey as the main protagonist in the erotic best-seller, Fifty Shades of Grey.

However, given that the other options in the multiple choice answer were Mr Darcy, Tom Ripley and Jay Gatsby, the name may have given it away.

Nearly a quarter of readers admitted to fibbing about having read a best-seller, in order to appear in touch with current trends - with the figure rising to nearly two-thirds among men.

Autobiographies, particularly those by celebrities, were said to be the most popular books to take on holiday, with drama, science fiction and crime stories close behind.

But nearly half of those polled said they would rather watch the film version of a novel than have to read it.

Fran Doherty of Ebookers said: “Holidays are a great time to relax with a good read.”