Providing a unique combination of well-written, up-to-date background information and intriguing selections from primary documents, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare introduces students to the topics most important to the study of Shakespeare in their full historical and cultural context.
An attempt to put the Shakespearean text into cultural perspective "without causing it to disappear." It is designed as a vehicle for conveying facts and ideas that will inform classroom discussion and enhance comprehension of Shakespearean drama. For example, excerpts from historic speeches are meant to stimulate students to hear the rhetoric of Richard II, Claudius, King Lear, and Prospero in terms of contemporary political writing. It includes documents and illustrations such as maps, facsimiles of pages from Shakespearean quartos, portraits of Elizabeth and James, playhouse records, and passages from handbooks and political treatises. McDonald currently teaches English at the U. of North Carolina, Greensboro. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)