Life and Art of Edwin Booth

Life and Art of Edwin Booth

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Life and Art of Edwin Booth

Life and Art of Edwin Booth

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Excerpt

In writing this memoir of Edwin Booth I have largely expanded my sketch of him that was published in 1872, in association with portraits by William J. Hennessey, under the title of Edwin Booth in Twelve Dramatic Characters. That sketch, brief and meagre and now superseded, has long been out of print, and it is inaccessible. I have also drawn upon scattered essays of mine, in the New York Tribune since 1865, and in other publications. This biography rests upon intimate personal knowledge of the subject, and upon information furnished to me by Booth himself. He was aware that I intended to write his Life, and he expressed approval of that intention: for he knew that I honoured and loved him; that I had followed his career with sympathy and studious attention, ever since his return from California, in 1856; and that I was acquainted with it, and with his views and feelings respecting it. The story is that of a dreamer, who, nevertheless, threw himself into the strife of action; a simple gentleman, who was often perplexed and bewildered, "among the thorns and dangers of this world." The chief public work of Booth's life was his effort to establish a great theatre, to be conducted in a high and liberal spirit, and to be devoted to all that is grand and fine in dramatic literature and art. In what manner that work was done, and for what reasons it ended in adversity, this narrative could not omit to declare . . .

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