The Plays of William Shakspeare

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 106 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: . . imputed to any other caufe than want of zeal for the due execution of the tafii which I ventured to undertake. ' The difficulties to be encountered by an editor pf the works of Shakfpeare, have been fo frequently ftated, and are lo generally acknowledged, that it may feem unneceilary to conciliate the .publick favour by this plea: but as thefe in ray opinibn have in iomc particulars been over-rated, and in others not iufficiently infilled on, and as the true ftate of the ancient copies of this poet's writings has never been laid before the publick, I (hall confider the fubjeft as if it had not been 'already difcuffed by preceding editors. In the year 17.56 Dr. Johnfon publifhed the following excellent fchcme of a new edition of Shak- fpeare's dramatick pieces, which he completed in 1765: t' When the works of Shakfpeare are, after fo many editions, again offered to the publick, it will doubtlefs be enquired, why Shaki'peare (lands in more need of critical affiftance than any other of the Englifh writers, and what are the deficiencies of the late attempts, which another editor may hope to fupply. ' The bufmefs of him that republifhes an ancient book is, to correct what is corrupt, and to explain what is obfcure. To have a text corrupt in many places, and in many doubtful, is, among the authors that have written fince the ufe of types, almoft peculiar to Shakfpeare. Molt writers, by publifhing their own works, prevent all various readings, and preclude all conjectural critkifm. Books indeed aie fometimes publifhed after the death of him who produced them, but they are better fecured from corruptions than thefe unfortunate compofuions. They fubfift in a fingle copy, written or revifed by the author; and the faults of the printed volume can be only faults o...

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About the author (2012)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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