The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard

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Viking, Jan 1, 1993 - Literary Criticism - 550 pages
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What's so friendly about William Shakespeare? Haven't we all spent dutiful hours trying to make ourselves enjoy reading the Bard - with mixed results? The Friendly Shakespeare will change all that - it's a book that will delight anyone who ever shuddered at a soliloquy or nodded off the moment an actor said "doth". It's crammed full of solid but never simplistic information; it's intelligent without being overly intellectual, but with the depth to satisfy even those for whom reading Shakespeare is already a delight. The Friendly Shakespeare is written for people who think Shakespeare is, to quote Laurence Olivier, "not for the likes of them". It includes the major plays - histories, tragedies, comedies, and problem plays - but in between you'll find the real plot of Hamlet; raging controversies - like just who was Shakespeare - and was he actually Queen Elizabeth I? And who was the Dark Lady, anyway?; a look at Shakespeare on film - and a complete filmography; "the most insipid, ridiculous play I ever saw" (Samuel Pepys), and other quotes from Shakespeare haters (like Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw); Shakespeare's ambiguous sexuality - or, was the Bard gay?; a half-dozen ways to say "Scram!" in Elizabethan English, and a glossary of Shakespearean invective; a look at the Elizabethan stage; practical advice from actors on how to read Shakespeare aloud and curious Shakespeareana about the numerous cranks and eccentrics drawn to Shakespeare throughout the ages. Designed to make reading Shakespeare a pleasure, every page of The Friendly Shakespeare is complemented by illustrations, photographs, and sidebars. With infectious enthusiasm and breezy erudition, Norrie Epstein has written acompulsively readable, slightly irreverent book that - at last! - makes Shakespeare not only accessible, but irresistible.

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User Review  - nmhale - LibraryThing

A nonfiction book that surveys Shakespeare's entire cannon, along with his life, his historical context, his impact on literature, and the many spinoffs and versions of his stories that continue to be ... Read full review

The friendly Shakespeare: a thoroughly painless guide to the best of the bard

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

It is easier to say who is not Epstein's (literature, Univ. of California) intended audience than whom she intends her audience to be. Academics and Bardolators will pass, but would novices of ... Read full review


On Shakespeare l
Who Is Shakespeare?
A Look at the Elizabethan Stage

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About the author (1993)

Epstein has lectured extensively at the University of California, as well as the University of Rochester and Grouvher College

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