William Shakespeare: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 6

By Brian Vickers | Go to book overview

part with a favourite character, and is a tender farewel to his memory. It is also with particular propriety that these words are put into the mouth of Fluellen, who stands here as his substitute, and whose humour, as well as that of Nym, may be said to have arisen out of the ashes of Falstaff. (III, 247-50)


289.

Andrew Becket, notes on Shakespeare’s text

1787

From A Concordance to Shakespeare: Suited to all the Editions: In which the distinguished and parallel Passages in the Plays of that justly admired Writer, are methodically arranged. To which are added. Three Hundred Notes and Illustrations, entirely New (1787). Published anonymously.

The title of this compilation is misleading, since it is not a listing of all the words used by Shakespeare so much as an alphabetical collection of quotations on selected topics: ‘Act’, ‘Action’, ‘Conscience’, and so on, an ‘axiomatical or moral concordance’ as the reviewer in the Monthly Review put it (lxxviii (1788), p. 220). The author of that anonymous review was Andrew Becket, himself the author of the book he was reviewing. When Ralph Griffiths, editor of the journal, subsequently discovered this fact, he wrote in his copy (now in the Bodleian) ‘Hic Niger est’.1 Becket (1749-1843), son of a bookseller, was a close associate with Griffiths in publishing the Monthly until they quarrelled in 1790. His Dramatic and Prose Miscellanies (2 vols) were published in 1838. The first proper concordance to Shakespeare was published by Samuel Ayscough as an appendix to the second edition of Stockdale’s Shakespeare: An Index to the Remarkable Passages and Words made

1 Horace, Satires, 1.4.85: ‘that man is black of heart’.

-460-

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