William Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 6

By Brian Vickers | Go to book overview

sentiment, with eminent abilities, exceedingly cultivated and improved, with manners the most elegant and becoming, with the utmost rectitude of intention, and the most active zeal in the exercise of every duty, he is hated, persecuted, and destroyed. (148-52)


247.

Edward Taylor, Shakespeare’s faulty tragedies

1774

From Cursory Remarks on Tragedy, on Shakespeare, and on certain French and Italian Poets, Principally Tragedians (1774).

According to an article in the Gentleman’s Magazine for December 1797, this essay was written by Edward Taylor (c. 1741-97), who was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (however, his name appears in none of the biographical dictionaries for those institutions). Subsequently, it seems, he attended the University of Göttingen, where he studied law, which he never practised. Having travelled widely, and mastered seven languages, ‘at the age of 30 he retired to the country; and the last 26 years of his life were spent in retirement, in the pursuits of elegant literature, and in the practice of every virtue that can adorn and dignify human nature’ (lxvii, pt 2, p. 1076). He also published Werter to Charlotte, a poem (1784; based on Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werther’s), a translation of Musaeus’ Hero and Leander (1783), and of the Memoirs of Guy Joli, private secretary to Cardinal de Retz (1775). D. Nichol Smith described Cursory Remarks as ‘the last direct descendant of Rymer’s Short View of Tragedy…. But it is a degenerate descendant. If it has learned good manners, it is

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