The Plays of William Shakspeare
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 106 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com 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...