On the surface, there is little common ground between these two books. One covers not only the whole Shakespeare canon but a great deal of philosophy and music history: the other looks only at two works, Shakespeare’s play and Verdi’s opera, albeit that the latter exists in three versions. But the common ground is the limitations imposed by their forms, the first as a short initial approach, the second as a reworked doctoral thesis. David Lindley’s volume offers a beginner’s guide to the place of music, spiritual, intellectual, referential and performative, within the plays of Shakespeare and the thought of his audiences and contemporaries – a brave undertaking, given current levels of ignorance about serious music and the prevailing cultural prejudice against it. Lindley’s approach is selective, privileging the levels of meaning and suggestion available to the dramatist and wisely ignoring controversy over original and traditional melodies, though naming the surviving candidates where this is helpful.