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Shakespeare's Words: A Glossary and Language Companion
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Shakespeare's Words: A Glossary and Language Companion

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A vital resource for scholars, students and actors, this book contains glosses and quotes for over 14,000 words that could be misunderstood by or are unknown to a modern audience. Displayed panels look at such areas of Shakespeare's language as greetings, swear-words and terms of address. Plot summaries are included for all Shakespeare's plays and on the facing page is a u ...more
Paperback, 676 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Penguin (first published June 6th 2002)
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4.45  · 
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 ·  309 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stunning book for the word lover who also happens to dote on Shakespeare. That would be me, and this book therefore brings me absurd amounts of browsing joy. I ran across it, in all places, in Elsinore, in Denmark, in the public library there which has a whole section devoted to Shakespeare. Reading a Shakespeare play is a tricky journey across shoals of words that appear familiar but actually mean something entirely different. Take, for example, the word "policy," which means one thing to us ...more
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Top-notch reference resource for the Shakespeare nut, reader, scholar, dramaturg or actor. Whilst you will find all manners of annotations in any amount of well-collated 'Complete Shakespeare's' you won't find anything quite complete as this. It's a mammoth tome, but if you have the funds, the inclination or the space on your shelf (make sure their sturdy) I'd definitely recommend this. No amount of internet searching/bookmarks is quite like having a reference like this.
Ella Cumber
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An invaluable tool for any student or actor with an interest in Shakespeare. Not only does it fulfil it's use as a glossary, but it also has incredibly detailed information on each play in Shakespeare's canon, well referenced appendices and many definitions to each word and there possible pronunciations in a variety of dialects.

Well worth reading, keeping and using.
Tally, The Chatty Introvert
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fabulous resource to have with you when you're reading Shakespeare and can't quite get what the word means or its context. Worth the $20 I paid when I spent the year trying to get through Shakespeare's works.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
educational but boring
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a referential book, so I haven't technically read it.

Doesn't have every single word, but has so many ununderstandables that it's a worthwhile companion to reading Shakespeare. There are a ton of extra notes too on the etymology of words.

For a book that is meant to be flicked through like a dictionary, they have put a lot of effort in. There is even a map of all the characters for each play, which is helpful because I am awful at remembering character names and affiliations.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Don't hesitate to get your hands on a copy of this book if you like Shakespeare. And if you don't like Shakespeare, well, maybe this book will encourage you to. This is a great companion to reading Shakespeare and it has really helped me to not just get the gist of what he is saying, but to really understand. Thanks David and Ben Crystal!
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Adding this to my library "want" list. Many years of potential value.

focused on the early section, FEW: Frequently Encountered Words.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I own this but have not yet had a chance to truly use it. It looks amazing though and hopefully I'll get a chance to make use of it really soon.
Jake Maguire
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shakespeare
This is a great resource. I highly recommend it.
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great resource when reading Shakespeare!
Indispensable for anyone with even a passing interest in Shakespeare's works. It's really so great to see the meanings of words that you might have skipped over in your first reading of a play.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is not just a glossary but also has interesting inserts on categories such as weapons, greetings, curses, familiarity, etc.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another book not to be read more explored over time and given a handy accessible. place in the bookshelf
Alexandra Dickson
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book, though sometimes will have very obvious words defined/put into context and then the ones I'm looking for are nowhere to be found!
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shakespeare
My go to dictionary for Shakespeare. Excellent Venn diagrams and summaries.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource. I'll add more later.
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To develop a process for reading Shakespeare 1 1 Apr 12, 2016 10:18AM  

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David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead. His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary's College. He read English at University College London (1959-62), specialised in English language studies, did some rese ...more