Essential Shakespeare Handbook

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9780751348828: Essential Shakespeare Handbook

Offering a user-friendly, beautifully illustrated guide to every play in the Shakespeare canon, as well as a portrait of the Bard's life and the world of Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, the Essential Shakespeare Handbook is an innovative and entertaining book which unravels the complexities of Shakespeare's plays and poems. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book will enrich the experience of the Bard's work on the page, stage, and screen.

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About the Author:

Leslie Dunton-Downer, a fellow and lecturer at her alma mater, Harvard, is a founding member of the Cambridge Riverside Players, and has produced community readings of Shakespeare's plays. Her published works have earned her a Sheldon Fellowship, two Rockefeller Foundation Awards, and the International Orpheus Award.

Alan Riding is the European Cultural Correspondent for The New York Times based in Paris. He has covered countless Shakespearean performances, films, ballets, and operas.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up–Organized according to the categories of plays and including a section on his nondramatic poetry, this is an excellent basic tool for gaining insight into the Bard's poetic genius. Each of the categories–histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances–commences with a well-written essay that explains the nature of the genre (and the place of Shakespeare's works within it) and discusses the themes and ideas that lay behind the poet's words. A more in-depth analysis of each play follows: a look at the sources that inspired it, an act-by-act plot outline (with relevant quotes), an annotated list of the dramatis personae, ideas to ponder when reading/seeing the play, and, finally, a discussion of issues associated with the play and/or its productions. Each treatment is liberally peppered with informative sidebars, as well as with clear, color photos of relevant people and places. For the poems, similarly organized information is offered. A number of useful discussions help put the pieces into their full literary context. A biography of the playwright, an essay on Elizabethan society and the theater it spawned, a discussion of the overall canon, and an explanation of Shakespeare's language and poetic meters round out the text. This volume is not meant to take the place of more comprehensive reference works, such as Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells's The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Oxford, 2001), but it isan informative, visually enticing introduction to the world's most famous dramatist.–Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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Dunton-Downer, Leslie & Riding, Alan
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