The Essential Shakespeare: A Biographical Adventure

The Essential Shakespeare: A Biographical Adventure

The Essential Shakespeare: A Biographical Adventure

The Essential Shakespeare: A Biographical Adventure

Excerpt

I have to thank the Council of the British Academy for its kind permission to reprint one or two brief passages from a lecture I delivered before that body in 1929, entitled The Elizabethan Shakespeare.

In a book of this scope and size it would be absurd to attempt a record of my indebtedness to previous writers: let it suffice to say that my creditors are more than I can number and the liability beyond my discharge. But two names I must mention. I had hoped to break a lance with an old friend of Cambridge days, Lytton Strachey, in the last chapter, which was first written as a reply to his brilliant essay, Shakespeare's Final Period. But just as I was going to press, he laid his pen aside to join "the loveliest and the best", and I have removed all traces of disagreement except one nameless reference.

I could wish to associate the last chapter too with the name of Sir Edmund Chambers. Though of course the book as a whole owes more than I can estimate to his William Shakespeare: a study of facts and problems, I admit to my shame that it was not until it was all but complete, and my theory of The Tempest and of what he calls Shakespeare's "conversion" had been worked out, that I read his early prefaces, recently reprinted as Shakespeare: a survey. It was interesting to discover that in respect to the last phase we were on somewhat the same tack, and though I differ with him sharply on . . .

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