Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare

by Isaac Asimov. Doubleday, $25.00. Two volumes, boxed. Perhaps because his own field is science, Dr. Asimov has done what would never occur to a scholar in English literature; he has collected and presented in textual sequence the mythical and historical information necessary for complete understanding of the references in thirty-eight plays and two poems, each work treated individually. Since this is not original scholarship, Dr. Asimov expects no glory for it, hut who can fail to respect an enormous and useful labor of love? Discounting some odd omissions and rather too much plot summary, what Dr. Asimov has pulled together would otherwise have to be hunted by the earnest reader through footnotes, appendices, and a dozen reference books. Extensive index but no bibliography; anybody wishing to nitpick Dr. Asimov’s facts will have to rummage for his sources.