A Sketch of Recent Shakespearean Investigation, 1893-1923

A Sketch of Recent Shakespearean Investigation, 1893-1923

A Sketch of Recent Shakespearean Investigation, 1893-1923

A Sketch of Recent Shakespearean Investigation, 1893-1923

Excerpt

The following pages were originally written for the recent edition of the Henry Irving Shakespeare originally issued in 1893, under the editorship of the late Frank Marshall, with the collaboration of the late Professor Edward Dowden and others. They attempt to supplement Dowden's account there given of the state of our knowledge of Shakespeare and his work as it was at that time, by a summary indication of what has been done, in the various regions of this vast domain, during the thirty years which have since intervened. It will be understood that this is in no sense a bibliography. What is aimed at is merely to offer a conspectus of prevailing tendencies, with a description and criticism of some salient examples.

Such a survey may possibly be of service both to the student and to the general reader. Not only has production during these years been of bewildering abundance, it has by no means been carried on mainly along the familiar traditional channels for which the old charts furnish a sufficient guide. In range and severity of Elizabethan scholarship this period, it can scarcely be doubted, shows a definite advance. But discovery--and invention--have easily kept pace with the amassing of facts, and the most acute and laborious research has often been devoted to fortifying new and even revolutionary positions. There may be little comparison, in brilliance of single achievements, between this period of thirty years and that which witnessed the lectures and essays . . .

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