Materials for the Life of Shakespeare

Materials for the Life of Shakespeare

Materials for the Life of Shakespeare

Materials for the Life of Shakespeare

Excerpt

There is no need for another biography of William Shakespeare just now. Quite assured of this fact, I should like to present my apologies for the pages that follow. I am not attempting a biography; I am merely presenting to your consideration the most important among the number of early sketches, anecdotes, biographies, criticisms, and documents concerned with Shakespeare and his times. All of these materials are tucked away, in partial quotations, in the pages of sundry modern books about Shakespeare. But I have a conviction that the student and even the general reader will like to see presented in one volume and in a simple form these sources for our information about one of the best known as well as one of the greatest men of his period. In the case of the plays themselves, there may be a question if they would survive a triumphant pedantry that would print, verbatim et literatim, the text of quarto or folio, with spelling, punctuation, and capitalization as in the seventeenth century, and without the explanatory stage directions, etc. Fortunately, the sheer power and beauty of the poetry have forever made impossible such a calamity: we have accepted gratefully the magical words of Prospero in modern spelling. There is no sound reason why we should not endeavor to make Greene and s and the rest more readily intelligible to the ordinary reader than they would be in a facsimile. The texts in this volume appear, in almost all cases, in modern dress. They are, as far as may be, exact and faithful in offering you the sense the writer meant to . . .

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