49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
At last, a Shakespeare reference book for real people,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Hardcover)
Beautifully designed and laid out, with hundreds of really good relevant and unusual pictures, this is a fabulous reference book -- jammed with information and ideas. It isn't just a bunch of academics prosing on as if for each other -- there's no jargon, and all the thousands of entries (which range from nicely set-out in-depth ones on individual plays to tiny little gems of fascinating trivia) are written to share a real enjoyment of the plays and the poems. Describes the world that made Shakespeare and the world that Shakespeare has made -- the pictures range from Elizabethan documents to modern adverts -- and there's amazing stuff about what Shakespeare's works have become in ballet and music and opera and film and in fiction. So it's much broader and more lively than its stuffy title suggests -- judge it by the brilliant colours of the jacket, not the imprint! A must for every bookshelf, but it won't stay still on a bookshelf for long -- the only encyclopaedia I own that would be a pleasure to read from A straight through to Z. You learn something you didn't expect to every time you open a page...it('s)... worth..(it) just for the full-page pin-up of a young Dorothy Tutin as Cressida. My Christmas present list is solved for this year -- and they'll be grateful, too. Fantastic for anyone even remotely interested in Shakespeare, whether as a student or a theatregoer or anything.