Scholars and students may argue over what constitutes "the boring bits"
of William Shakespeare's work, but there is no denying the mammoth influence the great playwright has had on world literature and our understanding of British history. In this handy guide to all things Shakespeare, readers can learn - or refresh memories of! - the essentials of the Bard's work. Beginning with a brief biography of Shakespeare's life and an exploration of the theatrical culture of the time, the guide is devoted primarily to the writings, offering historical contexts, plot summaries, and character descriptions for each play; short overviews of five poems; and all 154 of his sonnets, reprinted in their entirety. Thorough (if not comprehensive), this compact resource makes an excellent addition to every reader's home library. (KG)