Essential Shakespeare Handbook

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Overview

From Hamlet and The Tempest to Henry V and Romeo and Juliet, the Essential Shakespeare Handbook is a user-friendly, beautifully illustrated guide to every play in the Shakespearean canon, as well as a compelling portrait of the Bard's life.

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East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A. 2004 Hardcover New 0789493330. FLAWLESS COPY, AVOID WEEKS OF DELAY ELSEWHERE. --480 pages; clean and crisp, tight and bright pages, with no ... writing or markings to the text. -- Read more Show Less

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Overview

From Hamlet and The Tempest to Henry V and Romeo and Juliet, the Essential Shakespeare Handbook is a user-friendly, beautifully illustrated guide to every play in the Shakespearean canon, as well as a compelling portrait of the Bard's life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This lavishly illustrated book covers all 39 plays, as well as Shakespeare's narrative and lyric poetry. Introductory material includes the life of Shakespeare, the Elizabethan era, Elizabethan and Jacobean theater, and Shakespeare's language. Each play is allotted ten pages packed with plot summary, background information, date and length of the play, dramatis personae with the number of lines the character speaks, a brief analysis of the play, interesting factoids, and photos from film and stage productions. The plays are arranged chronologically within genre. A section on "global Shakespeare" gives readers an idea of how universal is the influence of the greatest dramatist of all time. There is, for example, a Zulu version of Macbeth. A comprehensive and useful book for any library. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, DK, 480p. illus. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Janet Julian
School Library Journal
Gr 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 is an informative, visually enticing introduction to the world's most famous dramatist.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Essential Shakespeare Handbook deserves a place next to your edition of Shakespeare's plays. Leslie Dunton-Downer, a former lecturer at Harvard, and Alan Riding, the European cultural correspondent for The Times, have written a guide to the poems and plays that is scholarly without being recondite, succinct without being superficial." – The New York Times Book Review

"Students will like the glossy, well-illustrated format; it is an English teacher's dream. Recommended." – Library Media Connection

"This simple, colorful handbook is a perfect companion to the playwright's complete works." – Library Journal

Library Journal
★ 01/01/2014
Character and plot summaries for every Shakespeare play and a few short guides to his life and times fill this visually appealing volume. The rich illustrations include original documents and engravings and photographs from stage and film adaptations. This simple, colorful handbook is a perfect companion to the playwright's complete works. (LJ 8/04)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789493330
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    Love the Pictures and the Layout

    I absolutely LOVE the many hundreds of full-color pictures throughout this book, and I like that the book is divided into sections such as tragedies, comedies, historical plays, and poetry. I only wish the book would have been larger so that the print, and of course the beautiful photos would have been larger too. The size of the book is roughly 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches and is about 1.5 inches thick.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    Shakespeare for Everyone

    This book is designed for those who approach Shakespeare with a little anxiety, offering a very accessible format with tons of the pictures and tables DK does best. It's the best source I've found for synopses of each plays with brief, though insightful, discussions of each. It's worth the cover price for the photos alone; full color scenes from stage and screen productions, with a who's-who of Shakespearean actors and actors you don't normally associate with Shakespeare. Bardophiles will add it to already-burdened shelves of Shakespeare criticism, but it will be opened often by anyone wanting to understand and appreciate the treasure of Shakespeare's work and influence.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    A must-have for the Shakespeare novice

    This is a great guide for someone who is not very familiar with Shakespeare's works. It provides a summary of all of the characters in each play as well as an easy-to-read summary of the plays. I use it so that I know what I'm going to read before I read one of the plays.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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