An excellent introductory text on the life, times and plays of Shakespeare. The organization of the material provides for a steady progression of facts from the birth of Shakespeare in 1564 to his death in 1616. Elizabethan London life; the Elizabethan attitudes toward the theater; play production; and the political/social questions of the day are all briefly covered. The conditions under which Shakespeare wrote, his sources and his intent are well covered. Some of the best known plays are described in terms of meaning and much information is included on the techniques of the various stagings each has been accorded in the last 300 years. Names, technical terms and Elizabethan slang are printed in capital letters, usually defined in the context of the sentence in which they appear and again in the glossary. The text is far more elementary than that of the recent American Heritage book which was splendidly illustrated. While this has a number of black and white photographs, the presence of ""typical textbook"" illustrations in garish color mar the book.