Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Accessible to scholars and novices alike
on August 14, 2001
When I first saw Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare in a bargain book section of a local bookstore, I was a bit surprised that Asimov had a guide to Shakespeare. I decided to pick it up because it was on sale and read his entries on some plays that I have read.
I didn't know what to expect, but after reading a few pages into it, I was hooked. Asimov, with amazing astuteness, has given a thorough analysis of twenty three of Shakespeare's plays and the poems Venus and Adonis and the Rape of Lucrece. At the beginning of every play he has a map of all the locations pertinent to the play. I found this to be very helpful in understanding the varied settings in Shakespeare's plays.
The chapters on the plays read a bit like something you might find in Monarch or Cliffs notes. He goes through the tale and gives pertinent information along the way. However this book isn't merely a substitute for reading Shakespeare, nor is the aim of it to prepare you for an exam. Rather this book's aim is to guide the modern reader, who is distanced by time and geography from Shakespeare's stories, along to better understand Shakespeare.
If you're looking for a down-to-Earth book on Shakespeare, this is it. No one, quite as well as Asimov does, can make the reader feel so at ease in reading the fancy language of Shakespeare.