Shakespeare For Dummies

 
9780764551352: Shakespeare For Dummies

Shakespeare For Dummies is exquisite.”
—from the Foreword by Dame Judi Dench, star of “Mrs. Brown” and "Shakespeare in Love"

“What the film Shakespeare in Love has done to make Shakespeare the man accessible to a general audience, this book will do to make Shakespeare the writer enjoyable.”
—Charlotte J.Headrick, PhD, Professor and Director, Theater Arts, Oregon State University

Does the thought of sitting through A Midsummer Night’s Dream give you nightmares? Did Romeo and Juliet seem like a foreign film—without the subtitles? As John Doyle and Ray Lischner prove in this uniquely accessible guide, Shakespeare is not only the greatest writer who ever lived, he’s also a great entertainer—once you get a handle on his wild plots and witty wordplay. Under their guidance, you’ll:

  • Go inside an Elizabethan theater—and find out how they managed with almost no seats, no roof and no women onstage
  • Get a handle on Shakespeare’s language—including all those racy puns and jokes
  • Maximize your enjoyment of his plays and poetry
  • Identify contemporary idioms and phrases that come from Shakespeare’s plays
  • Find Shakespeare festivals and performances in your area
  • Catch ten of the best show ever made of the Bard’s plays and meet ten of the greatest Shakespearean actors of all time

In simple, straightforward language, this friendly guide eases you into the wild, wonderful world of Shakespeare. With the help of snappy summaries and scorecards that help you keep track of who’s who, who’s in love with whom, and who’s killed whom in every play, it helps you:

  • Understand Shakespeare the person, his life and times and what makes him so special
  • Make sense of Shakespearean language and why it sounds the way it does
  • Get the inside track on the kinds of stories, characters and settings found in Shakespeare’s plays
  • Appreciate Shakespeare’s sonnets and other non-dramatic poetry

A royal feast for the head and heart, Shakespeare’s works have been thrilling audiences for four centuries, as they will four hundred years from now. Now let Shakespeare For Dummies help you to enjoy one the world’s great literary treasures.

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Review:

Had Shakespeare for Dummies been around in the days of the Bard, perhaps Puck would have had no reason to opine, "Oh what fools these mortals be." Despite its title, this introduction to the playwright's life and plays comes with quite a pedigree: written by John Doyle, a Shakespeare scholar and former Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal York, and Ray Lischner, a Shakespearean actor and director, this guide book even boasts a short foreword by Dame Judi Dench. Since it's a scant two paragraphs long, perhaps she intended it as a jacket testimonial. And though the approach is lighthearted, there's nothing lightweight about the treatment given such wide-ranging subjects as Shakespeare's sources, the themes of his plays, the political and social issues that influenced him, and even the Aristotelian rules that applied to comedy and tragedy. Then there are the plot synopses, a glossary of Elizabethan English, and guidelines for how to read a play or the sonnets, as well as how to prepare for viewing a theatrical performance. There's also a list of versions available on video at the end of each play's synopsis. And finally, Doyle and Lischner offer their Top 10 lists, including the 10 best places to see a play, the top 10 Shakespearean performers, the 10 most common phrases, and 10 modern shows based on Shakespeare's plays. Perfect for students or anyone hoping to brush up on the Bard, this Shakespeare for Dummies ain't anybody's fool. --Alix Wilber

From the Back Cover:

"Shakespeare For Dummies is exquisite"
From the Foreword by Dame Judi Dench of Mrs. Brown and Shakespeare in Love

Your Complete Guide to Shakespeare's Plays and Poems

Scorecards and Summaries Help You Keep Track of Deaths, Marriages, and Tricky Family Relations

Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine Shakespeare's English Explained in Plain English

"John Doyle asks actors never to hide in fear from Shakespeare's words, but to use them to bring the story to life."
Natascha McElhone, costar of the films The Truman Show and Mrs. Dalloway

"What great fun! What the film Shakespeare in Love has done to make Shakespeare the man accessible to a general audience, this book will do to make Shakespeare the writer enjoyable."
Charlotte J. Headrick, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Theatre Arts, Oregon State University

Includes a Scorecard for Every Play!

Shakespeare...Difficult? Zounds! 'Tis all much ado about nothing!

Does the thought of sitting through A Midsummer Night's Dream give you nightmares? Did Romeo and Juliet seem like a foreign film without the subtitles? Relax. As John Doyle and Ray Lischner prove in this uniquely accessible guide, Shakespeare is not only the greatest writer who ever lived, but he's also a great entertainer once you get a handle on his wild plots and witty wordplay. With Shakespeare For Dummies®, you get snappy summaries and scorecards for every play to help you keep track of who's who, who's in love with whom, and who's killed whom plus fun tips on understanding Elizabethan English, including all those racy puns and jokes.

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears"

  • Discover how Shakespeare became the Steven Spielberg of Elizabethan England and why some people still claim that his plays were ghostwritten
  • Go inside an Elizabethan theater and find out how they managed with almost no seats, no roof, and no women onstage
  • Improve your understanding of the language with tips on sentence construction, verbs, and those troublesome thees, thous, and thines
  • Find contemporary idioms and phrases that come from Shakespeare's plays
  • Get the lowdown on where to find Shakespeare festivals and performances and discover how to maximize your enjoyment of a play
  • Find out the possible identity of the mysterious "Dark Lady" in Shakespeare's sonnets
  • Catch ten of the best shows ever made of the Bard's plays and meet the ten greatest Shakespearean actors of all time

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