Shakespeare and the Renaissance Concept of Honor

By Curtis Brown Watson | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THIS book stems from a thesis presented to the Department of English of Harvard University in 1950. In quoting Shakespeare, I have used The Complete Works of Shakespeare, edited by George Lyman Kittredge. I have modernized the spelling of a few words in order to help the reader grasp quickly the meaning of the many passages which are rendered in Elizabethan or Jacobean English. "Receyued," for example, becomes more readily recognizable as "Received." (The archaic u is replaced with the modern v, the i with a y and vice versa, the i with a j, and the modern form of s is used. Otherwise I have left the archaic spelling untouched in order to preserve the integrity of the original passages.)

I have used the Loeb Library edition of the basic classical works by Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero so that the passages cited can be easily compared with the original Greek or Latin version. In the case of Elyot The Gouernour, Castiglione The Courtier, and Florio translation of Montaigne Essays, I have used the excellent Everyman's Library reprints of the early editions, since many readers may possess these books. They are among the few of the innumerable works on Renaissance moral philosophy still read today. I have also used, where possible, the Great Books of the Western World, edited by Robert Maynard Hutchins and published by the Encyclopedia Britannica. The first volume (The Syntopicon) includes a discussion of the concept of honor as one of the germinal ideas which have had a decisive influence on the shaping of Western culture.

It is impossible for me to acknowledge adequately my debt to all those who have contributed, directly or indirectly, to the shaping of the ideas which have gone into this book. But since my subject is honor, it is particularly important that I give credit to the deserving--to use the idiom of the Renaissance moralists. A partial list of acknowledgments must include: ProfessorsI. J. Kapstein of Brown, S. F. Johnson of Columbia,

-vii-

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