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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
on May 11, 2000
My only complaint about this book is that Asimov gets too strong in some of his personal opinions. (Harsh opinions of Banquo, Brutus, Richard II etc.) But aside from that I value this book highly. He helps us to see some things Shakespeare's original audience would be able to pick up on WITHOUT being told. This helps one to understand Shakespeare's plays more. Also for the most part he DOES avoid the absurd marxist views that tend to over simplify the anaylisis. He is especially helpful in the history plays. Understanding Shakespeare's historical plays depends to a large extent on knowing the facts that Shakespeare does not mention (but that the original audience would have known). He also offers educated speculation that offers deep insights. While I do not agree with him on EVERYTHING, his views are interesting.
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on March 20, 2000
Even those of us who enjoy Shakespeare may not catch on to every nuance in his writings. Most of us aren't familiar with the political, religious and historical references that permeate the Bard's work.
Asimov's book puts Shakespeare's plays in context. He explains how Shakespeare manipulated history to increase the tension and smooth the flow of his stories, and gives us the background behind the historical plays -- information Shakespeare's audience would have known, but which we (for the most part) do not.
I recommend this book.
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on October 17, 1997
Extremely comprehensive history/nonfiction.
Asimov attempts to give a synapsis of the history and politics that surround the setting for each of Shakespeare's plays. I was able to use this book as a valuable resource for several college literature research papers, and I have turned to it since college for useful information.
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This book is a dream come true for any Shakespeare addict! The massive volume covers each and every play in great detail giving the vital statistics on historical background, characters, plots,sett- ings, etc. The sections on all the history plays were worthwhile and fascinating.
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