Cover image for The friendly Shakespeare : a thoroughly painless guide to the best of the bard
The friendly Shakespeare : a thoroughly painless guide to the best of the bard
Epstein, Norrie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1994.

Physical Description:
xviii, 550 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A Winokur/Boates book."

Reprint. Originally published: New York : Viking Press, c1993.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR2987 .E6 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Arranged in an eminently browsable format, this wide-ranging compendium of Shakespearean lore is comprised of tips on how to read Shakespeare; interviews with actors, directors and scholars; and contains a detailed glossary of Shakespearean invective and insult.

Author Notes

Norrie Epstein has lectured extensively at the University of California, as well as the University of Rochester and Goucher College, covering almost every literary figure including, of course, Charles Dickens . She is the author of The Friendly Shakespeare .

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Written for those whose introduction to William Shakespeare was marred by an ineffectual high school English teacher, this sprightly guide to the life and work of the writer considered to be the foremost dramatist and poet of the Western world will delight fans as well as novices. With disarming humor and total lack of academic pretension, University of California lecturer Epstein decodes the language, plot and history of Shakespeare's major works, as well as the controversies that have surrounded his authorship and sexual identity. Drawing on interviews with actors, critics and Shakespearean experts, Epstein mixes interpretation and criticism with a wealth of detail about the Bard's life and the world of Elizabethan theater in which he worked. A browsing compendium that will educate and entertain students, teachers, actors and theatergoers. Illustrations not seen by PW. BOMC selection. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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 Shakespeare want to read such a book? Still, novices who chance upon this work will find much to amuse: notes on theater and staging, authorship, characters, and actors; a glossary of Elizabethan sexual slang; a chapter entitled ``Why Is Shakespeare Boring?''; observations (not really synopses or critiques) on many of the plays and poems; some interviews, including one with noted scholar Jan Kott and outspoken Oxfordian Charlton Ogburn; and even a page on Peter Brook's notorious Titus Andronicus of 1955. Enthusiastically dished up, this is more a book to be dipped into than read, but it will provide fun for those to whom it will appeal and maybe tote up some cultural literacy points for them as well. Primarily for public libraries.-- Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.