- Hardcover: 1536 pages
- Publisher: Avenel; Reissue edition (January 1, 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517268256
- ISBN-13: 978-0517268254
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 72 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Works of Shakespeare Hardcover – September 2, 2003
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Shakespeare's genius is marked by his rare ability to appeal to theatergoers of all types and all levels of education. But for most modern folks, the Greek and Roman mythology and history, let alone the history of England and the geography of sixteenth-century Europe that his works are laden with, are hardly within our grasp. Isaac Asimov comes to making obscure issues clear to the layperson, selects key passages from 38 of the great bard's plays plus two of his narrative poems and, with the help of beautifully rendered maps an figures, illuminates us about their historical and mythological background.
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It's an easy read as well informative.
Isaac is a wonderful and insightful story-teller explaining Shakespeare to laymen and non-native English speakers that you develop appreciation for both Masters - do not miss out on this! (not to mention that Shakespeare is essential to understand European / Western civilization...)
Go for this (and his other thematic books like this) while you can!
Asimov takes a more historical view. He has done impressive research into the characters and times. His "Guide to Shakespeare" is useful for its insights into all of the plays, but I found it most useful for the English histories. In the eight plays of the Wars of the Roses --from Richard II, through the Henrys, and culminating in Richard III-- Asimov tracks the family trees and politics of the nobility, spots anachronisms, and does a wonderful job of simplifying the sometimes bewildering array of characters and historical references. Of course, even uneducated audiences in Shakespeare's day would have understood some of these arcane references without a guidebook, much as a modern US audience would easily understand references to Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. With his research and clear writing, Asimov brings the history plays --and indeed all of the plays-- back to life.