The world's greatest playwright is as alive today as he was 400 years ago. His works reflect the political and domestic concerns of contemporary society and are read widely by students, adapted into lavish films, and staged in stunning new productions each year. His words have become commonplaces of the English language and continue to shape our view of the world. And while his works teach us much about ourselves, they also illuminate the world of the Elizabethan and Jacobean England in which he lived and worked. The most exhaustive and authoritative work of its kind, this fully illustrated encyclopedia draws upon the expertise of a distinguished editor, internationally renowned advisory and editorial board, and hundreds of stellar contributors to chronicle Shakespeare's life, works, world, and legacy. Nearly 4,000 alphabetically arranged entries cover individual works, important actors, leading thinkers and theorists, influential modern adaptations, and numerous historical, social, political, cultural, and intellectual topics, such as Catholicism, costumes and clothing, jazz, lesbianism, madness, science, Shakespeare in the Arab world, and Shakespeare online. The entries, ranging from 50 to 5,000 words, cite works for further reading, and the encyclopedia closes with appendices listing DVDs, fiction, and children's and young adult literature; an extensive bibliography of print and electronic resources for student research; and a comprehensive index. - Publisher.