Folk-lore of Shakespeare
by T.F. Thiselton Dyer
This is a comprehensive studies of the folklore aspects of Shakespeare, providing a full-spectrum exposure to the cultural background of Elizabethan society. The Reverend Dyer, who also wrote Folk-lore of Women, delves into the source of innumerable passages in Shakespeare which were mysterious even back in Victorian times. Although usually he manages to clear up the mystery, in few instances he has to admit defeat.
This book is vital if you want to really understand Shakespeare's cultural context and times. He covers everything from the supernatural (fairies, witches, mermaids) to the mundane: games, weddings, dance, punishments, proverbs, animal lore. You can read it straight through, but it is also a browser's delight; you never know what bit of the bard lodged in your mind he will shed light on next.--J.B. Hare, April 16th, 2009.
Production Notes: due to the number of quotes in this book, paragraphs and paragraphs continuations are marked explicitly by indentation.