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TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
Down, down I come, like glistering Phaethon,
BOSTON, U. S. A.
i Cursrín, 1900
Pol. Basert Wendell
TRANSFERRED TO **TVARD COLLEGE L:SSARY
In this edition of SHAKESPEARE an attempt is made to present the greater plays of the dramatist in their literary aspect, and not merely as material for the study of philology or grammar. Criticism purely verbal and textual has only been included to such an extent as may serve to help the student in the appreciation of the essential poetry. Questions of date and literary history have been fully dealt with in the Introductions, but the larger space has been devoted to the interpretative rather than the matter-of-fact order of scholarship. Aesthetic judgments are never final, but the Editors have attempted to suggest points of view from which the analysis of dramatic motive and dramatic character may be profitably undertaken. In the Notes likewise, while it is hoped that all unfamiliar expressions and allusions have been adequately explained, yet it has been thought even more important to consider the dramatic value of each scene, and the part which it plays in relation to the whole. These general principles are common to the whole series ; in detail each Editor is alone responsible for the play or plays that have been intrusted to him.
Every volume of the series has been provided with a Glossary, an Essay upon Metre, and an Index; and Appendices have been added upon points of special interest, which could not conveniently be treated in the Introduction or the Notes. The text is based by the several Editors on that of the Globe edition : the only omissions made are those that are unavoidable in an edition likely to be used by young students.
By the systematic arrangement of the introductory matter, and by close attention to typographical details, every effort has been made to provide an edition that will prove convenient in use.
Boston, August, 1895.
To the above account of the general design of the series, it may be well to add a word upon the special aims of the present edition of Richard the Second. While endeavouring to give prominence throughout to the strictly literary qualities of the play, the Editor has sought to take cognizance of all branches of Shakespearian scholarship which fall within the purview of an English History. Many of these are, indeed, as yet too backward to be adequately utilized. The historical study of Elizabethan style and syntax, for instance, is, in spite of some excellent beginnings, quite immature; that of Elizabethan prosody has to be treated with a far stricter regard to historical phonetics than has yet been done. An educational book would in no case be a proper place for the full investigation of these matters. Yet it is hoped that, here and there, some hints have been thrown out which the student may be tempted to develop and expand. Throughout, indeed, the Editor has aimed less at supplying a complete apparatus of needful information, than a collection of starting-points,-of
openings' in the eternal chess-game of Shakespearian study,which
may call the student's own instincts and judgment into play.
In dealing with the relations of the drama to history, an attempt has been made to separate two obviously distinct problems habitually confused: the investigation of Shakespeare's divergences from his sources, and that of the discrepancies between his representation of history and history as now known. The former is a purely literary question, and one of capital importance for the student of Shakespeare; the latter concerns the student of Shakespeare only in so far as he is a student of history. The former teaches us how Shakespeare handled what he took to be history in the interests of the drama; the latter is a measure of precaution to secure that