Falstaff loved sack. But who made the sack, and how? What did Hamlet know about poison? What did astrology mean to a couple of star-cross'd lovers back in the day? This unique encyclopedia compiles an enormous breadth of information about Shakespeare's world. More than 200 articles, most accompanied by vivid illustrations, combine rich historical detail with informative, insightful descriptions on the form and function of obscure and everyday items found in Shakespeare's works. Students can look up meanings of specific terms and concepts, and readers, researchers, actors, and audiences will enjoy the lively--and sometimes humorous--essays on myriad topics including anatomy, astronomy, clothing, currency, death, entertainment, hunting, medicine, mythology, tools, weapons, and much more. A table of weights and measures illuminates such terms as cade, firkin, and hogshead. Maps pinpoint many of the locations mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and poems. Each term notes in which works the item can be found, and a chronology of historical events referenced in Shakespeare's plays concisely identifies the important events that figure in the plays.
From the conjectured identity of the Dark Lady of the Sonnets to misprints in the First Folio, from Shakespeare's favorite figures of speech to the staging of Othello in South Africa, The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare offers the most comprehensive coverage available on all aspects of Shakespeare's life and works. Illustrated with more than 100 photographs and boasting contributions from a team of internationally renowned scholars (including such noted Shakespeare authorities as Helen Vendler, Park Honan, and Jonathan Bate), the Companion has more than 3,000 entries that offer succinct, stimulating, and authoritative commentary on Shakespeare's life and times, his plays and poems, and their interpretation around the world over the last four centuries. All Shakespeare's plays--from As You Like It and All's Well that Ends Well to King Lear and Hamlet--are covered in major articles. There are concise descriptions of allusions in Shakespeare (Ajax, Agamemnon), well-known critics (Samuel Johnson, John Dryden), great Shakespearian actors (Richard Burbage, Lawrence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh), characters in the plays (Mercutio, Ophelia), figures of speech (metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron), and much more. Longer articles explore topics such as Shakespeare's birthplace, censorship, the Chamberlain's Men, film, and Shakespeare's reception in such countries as China, Italy, and the United States. Bringing its readers up to date not only with the latest in Shakespearian scholarship and controversy but with the plays' most recent incarnations on stage, film, and in international popular culture, this is the perfect companion to Shakespeare's works, covering everything from Aaron to Zeffirelli, and from Shakespeare in schools to Shakespeare in Love.
What famous essayist insisted that Shakespeare's play were unfit for performance? Which two plays center on the Hundred Years' War? In which scene of Romeo and Juliet does the nurse report--falsely--that Juliet is dead and thus seal Romeo's tragic fate? The answers are easily found in Shakespeare A to Z, the only single-volume reference to virtually everything one needs--or wants--to know about the Bard. Wonderfully informative, this comprehensive work includes 3,000 entries and 50 illustrations.
"What is a Bum-Bailey? Who saved Arion from the pirates? How do you know if you're Hilding for a Livery? Who leads Apes in Hell?" "It is said that England and America are two nations separated by a common language, and nowhere is that more true than in our dealings with the Bard. Rife with arcane references, unfamiliar expressions, and even made-up words, Shakespeare's texts can intimidate even the most learned reader. Here in one comprehensive volume, Shakespeare's ornate and sometimes bewildering language is made easy to understand."
Shakespeare's Words is for people who love Shakespeare, or who love language, or both. David Crystal, one of the world's leading experts on the English language, and his actor son, Ben, have created an immensely practical and enlightening guide to understanding Shakespeare's language for readers, audiences, students, directors and actors.They have collected over 14,000 words that can cause difficulty or be ambiguous to the modern reader. Each word is glossed and illustrated by at least on quotation. There are succinct precis of the plays, lists of dramatis personae and a unique diagrammatic circle for each play demonstrating the interaction of characters and their allegiances. With special panels on intriguing areas such as archaisms, greetings, farewells and swear words, as well as dialects, Greek mythology, weapons and money, Shakespeare's Words will greatly enrich every reader's understanding and appreciating of the plays, and will encourage a new generation to treasure them.