Shakespeare's Midwives: Some Neglected Shakespeareans

University of Delaware Press, 1992 - 203 pagina's
"This work is a companion piece to Arthur Sherbo's Birth of Shakespeare Studies: Commentators from Rowe (1709) to Boswell-Malone (1821). The contributions of seven men to the commentary on the plays and poems of Shakespeare have been largely ignored or forgotten. As a result, modern editions of Shakespeare's works have claimed for themselves or for nineteenth-century editors and commentators information and insights that have been anticipated by one or another of eighteenth-century commentators. Shakespeare's Midwives brings to light these earlier commentators, adding a valuable new perspective to Shakespeare studies." "Samuel Johnson, George Steevens, Edmond Malone, and Isaac Reed are names known to all students of Shakespeare's works. They brought the commentary on the plays and poems to a point where future scholars could, for the most part, concentrate on sources and, primarily, on the text of these works. These four men were omnivorous readers; all were great book collectors. And the knowledge they had won through their wide reading in all genres and in a number of languages came to the fore as they edited, either individually or in collaboration, edition after edition of Shakespeare's plays, sometimes with the poems included. But they were not alone in their endeavors, for many of their friends and acquaintances - and even perfect strangers - responded to their public and private pleas for help." "It is with these last, the co-adjutors, that this volume is concerned. Either in direct conversation, in letters, or in the pages of the Gentleman's Magazine or some other periodical, these amateur Shakespeareans made their suggestions or voiced their objections to what they had read in one or more of the editions of Shakespeare. Sometimes they signed their names; more often they cloaked their identity. Thus, one often encounters a suggestion, embedded usually in a note by one of the editors, by "Anon."" "It is, however, identifiable amateur Shakespeareans whom Sherbo has elected to call Shakespeare's midwives. He has tried to do justice to the contributions of each of these seven men, some of whom wrote hundreds of notes on some aspect of Shakespeare's works, but of necessity only part of their contributions could be quoted or cited. Sherbo has also tried to show that a considerable number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Shakespeareans have either been ignorant of, have ignored, or have mutilated some of the notes of these men. In a number of instances, he shows that nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars have been anticipated by their eighteenth-century forerunners." "This work makes clear that claims of precedence by later scholars must be made only when the contributions of these seven men and some of their contemporaries, named or unnamed, have been examined."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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List of Abbreviations
Thomas Tyrwhitt Editor of Chaucer
George Tollet GentlemanFarmer

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