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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – April 1, 2008

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cynthia Greenwood taught English, Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, and an introductory film course at the college level for nine years. She was the classical arts critic for the Houston Press from 1998 to 2002, and has written for the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications.

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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592577083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592577088
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cynthia Greenwood is a performing arts critic and independent scholar based in Houston. While writing The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays, she interviewed acclaimed directors and actors from the U.S., Canada, and China to capture their expert views on the art of staging and performing Shakespeare.

For nine years, she taught Shakespeare's plays and sonnets in her British literature course at Wharton County Junior College. Her arts features, reports, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Playbill, San Francisco Chronicle, Andante, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Press, and PlayShakespeare.com. She served as the Houston Press classical arts reviewer from 1998-2002.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays was nominated for a Falstaff Award for Best Book (2008) by the editors of PlayShakespeare.com. Cynthia writes about contemporary theatre, books, and stagecraft, as well as early modern English literature.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. Dulaney on November 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
...that is the question when confronted--yes, confronted--with Shakespeare for most Americans.

Cynthia Greenwood upends Shakespeare as a chore for school days, turning it into the thrilling theater it truly was...and is.

To Read or Not to Read Shakespeare---Greenwood advises not reading. It's a play. Go see it. Reading Shakespeare is liking reading the lyrics of the collected work of the Beatles. Hearing it is the thing.

What should be read is Greenwood's wonderful book. With sprightly writing that is downright fun to read, she puts Shakespearean theater in accurate historic context. Namely, a bunch of street people standing around watching a bawdy play for the laughs and the passion. Pretty much Desperate Housewives without the flat screen TV, popcorn, and couch.

If you are one of those odd people so determined never to see a Shakespearean play, let alone read one, that you read reviews such as this to shore up your defenses....sorry. Read Greenwood, fall in love with Shakespeare, and proceedeth thou to the play. It is, after all, the thing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Dunmire on April 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ms Greenwood certainly knows Shakespeare and her passion shows. The book is well written and so in depth. This book is must reading for anyone planning to see a Shakespearean production. It gives the reader a better appreciation of what should seen on stage. It will also influence the viewer when watching a "bad interpretation" of a character as well. This book helps answer the question, "why should I care about about a Shakespearean play?"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diana Howie on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
A handy reference for all theatre students. Something you'd want on your desk at home when you are pulling for inspiration for an audition tomorrow, or preparing for a final and need "a quick take" on a specific text or general Elizabethan background. The "Idiot's Guide Series" comes through again with a helping hand!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
The works of Shakespeare are world renown - but can be a little intimidating for someone just starting out. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays" is a guide for those who want to better understand this series of famous works without earning a Master's degree in English Literature. Covering both his major plays such as Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet to his lesser known ones, the guide also entertains with facts and stories about each of the plays and the man behind the pen himself, Shakespeare. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Shakespeare's Plays" is a must for any stage actor who doesn't fully understand the bard's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Schmuecker on May 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I never understood Sharespeare's plays well enough to really enjoy them. After reading this guide I went back to re-read some of the plays and I did enjoy them a lot because I started to understand many more of the undercurrents of the plays. I also let go of the stupid idea of trying to understand every row ... given I'm not a native speaker that would have been almost impossible.

Once I did that things started to click and it became good fun ... to the point that I couldn't go to sleep until finishing the guide. I have only the explanations of the individual plays left to read.
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