The Facts on File companion to Shakespeare /
William Baker and Kenneth Womack.
New York : Facts On File, c2012.
5 v. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
9780816078202 (set : acid-free paper)
More Details
added author
New York : Facts On File, c2012.
9780816078202 (set : acid-free paper)
contents note
v. 1. Background essays and poems -- v.2. All's well that ends well to Henry IV, part 2 -- v. 3. Henry V to Macbeth -- v. 4. Measure for measure to Richard III -- v. 5. Romeo and Juliet to The winter's tale
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
The Facts On File Companion to Shakespeare is the largest and most comprehensive student's guide to Shakespeare ever written. The primary goal of this new five-volume set is to make Shakespeare's poems and plays accessible and appealing to high school and college students. Written and edited by active Shakespearean scholars and critics who have a love of teaching and explaining Shakespeare, this landmark collection presents his poems and plays in a whole new light for anyone interested in fully comprehending this great writer's works.Part I contains the following background essays:Shakespeare's Life: A concise but thorough biography of ShakespeareSociety and Culture in Shakespeare's Day: An account of the social structure and cultural norms of England in Shakespeare's timeHistory and Politics in Shakespeare's Day: A description of the political situation in Shakespeare's England as well as the important historical events that affected Shakespeare's workShakespeare Today Contemporary Critical Backgrounds: A guide to contemporary academic approaches to Shakespeare's workOther Writers of Shakespeare's Day: A look at Shakespeare's fellow writers and the contemporary literary culture of the timeShakespeare's Texts: An explanation of how scholars and editors have made use of the original publications of Shakespeare's works to create the texts we read todayThe History of the Authorship Controversy: An analysis of the popular, if thinly evidenced, controversy over the identity of the real writer of Shakespeare's worksShakespeare's Language: An overview of Shakespeare's unique use of language, with advice for students approaching ShakespeareA Shakespeare Glossary: Definitions of the most common obsolete or unfamiliar words in Shakespeare's workBibliography of Secondary Sources: A selective guide to the most important critical, biographical, and historical works on Shakespeare.Part II of the set covers Shakespeare's poems, including the longer poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece ; the shorter poem The Phoenix and the Turtle; and Shakespeare's sonnets, which are examined both as an extended series (in a long overview essay) and as individual works (in more than 70 shorter essays on the most important sonnets).Part III, which takes up four of the set's five volumes, examines all of Shakespeare's plays, including the plays he wrote in collaboration with other playwrights.Each entry on a play contains the following subsections:Background: The political, social, and artistic context of the playSynopsis: A clear, concise, scene-by-scene description of the action of the playCharacter List: An alphabetically arranged list of the play's characters, with brief descriptions of eachCharacter Studies: In-depth analyses of the most important characters in the playDifficulties of the Play: A general discussion of the major challenges and obstacles for students in their understanding of the play, as well as advice to overcome themKey Passages: Analyses of important passages in the playDifficult Passages: Analyses of passages that may be particularly difficult for students to understandCritical Introduction to the Play: A general overview of the themes, ideas, symbols and other elements important to understanding the playExtracts of Classic Criticism: Selections of critical essays by great critics of the pastModern Criticism and Critical Controversies: An overview of the ideas of major critics who responded to the play in the 20th and early 21st centuryThe Play Today: A discussion of the play as it appears in the present day, whether in criticism, on stage, or on screenTopics for Discussion and Writing: A list of five promising topics for student discussion or writing, in the form of provocative questions that students can develop into ideas of their ownBibliography.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-06-01:
Baker (English, Northern Illinois Univ.; Shakespeare) and Womack's (English, Penn State Univ.; Books and Beyond) excellent work provides essays, criticism, historical data, and interpretative articles for the bard's readers in high school and above. Shakespeare's poems, sonnets, and plays are included. The first volume offers background essays about the playwright, the times in which he wrote, and his poems. In alphabetical order by title, the remaining volumes include descriptions, interpretation, criticism, importance, and influence of his work. Photographs, reproductions, documents, and other illustrations are included throughout. VERDICT Providing greater detail than either Oscar James Campbell's The Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare (Fine Communications, 1998), A.D. Cousins's The Shakespeare Encyclopedia, or Stanley W. Wells and Michael Dobson's The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, this set will be a welcome addition to libraries serving serious readers of Shakespeare. An essential source for insightful interpretations of Shakespeare's poetry and plays.-Marilyn Lary, San Bernardino, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2012-09-01:
This Companion by Baker (Northern Illinois Univ.) and Womack (Penn State Altoona) presents a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare and his works. Spanning five volumes and some 2,100 pages, it features signed entries on every work published and/or attributed to Shakespeare, including each sonnet. Part 1 offers contextual essays on topics including historical and political background, the perennial authorship question, and theoretical approaches and interpretations within Shakespeare studies. Part 2 is devoted to poems, and part 3 (which spans four volumes) covers the plays. "Difficult passages" from individual plays are highlighted and explained. Each entry also includes a bibliography of suggested readings to supplement the lengthy general bibliography of secondary sources on Shakespeare. An earlier Facts On File Shakespeare reference, Charles Boyce's The Critical Companion to William Shakespeare (CH, Sep'05, 43-0011), is much shorter, with brief entries on more discrete items (e.g., "Sarah Bernhardt"). The older Critical Companion also covers theater and film performances, while the Companion does not. Because of their differing emphases, these volumes complement rather than compete with each other. In short, this new volume would be an excellent guide to Shakespeare for undergraduates; graduate students and researchers also may find it useful. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. J. Stevens George Mason University
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, May 2012
Library Journal, June 2012
School Library Journal, August 2012
Choice, September 2012
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This collection makes Shakespeare's poems and plays accessible and appealing to students.

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