J.K. Rowling fills her books with references to history, myths, legends and literature. This text presents the stories behind the stories. It includes encounters with wizards like Circe and Merlin, and real-life alchemists of the middle ages. Adding to the experience are writers as varied as William Shakespeare, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Ovid, John Donne, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin.