The Rough Guide to Shakespeare provides the perfect introduction across all media from the Elizabethan theatre to the modern multiplex. Designed to work equally well as a quick reference and a background companion, the book features full coverage of all 38 plays including a synopsis, character list, stage history and a full critical essay. There are guides to recommended texts, critical studies and further reading, reviews of the best films and audio recordings, and guidance on where to go next. The author provides fascinating features on such topics as swearing in Shakespeare, fools, cross-dressing and the mystery of Shakespeare's lost plays. As well as the plays there's a detailed look at Shakespeare's poetry, both the famous Sonnets and the less well-known narrative poems. Finally, this handbook includes everything there is to know about Shakespeare's life, along with a full account of how the plays were originally performed. Throughout there are more than 100 pictures, including photos of great Shakespearean actors and some of the most celebrated recent productions.