Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

PREFACE

This book is an attempt to solve in practical form some of the difficulties involved in a first reading of Shakespeare. The historical plays, which are comparatively simple for a beginner, and the comedies, with their vivid picture of contemporary life, were obviously the sources upon which to draw ; in most cases a sequence of scenes has been given. To lighten the difficulty presented by the language, phrases, lines, and sentences have been lopped freely whenever this could be done without positive

ruin to the context; and occasionally the easier of two readings has been deliberately adopted. The book has been edited solely with an eye to young readers.

The only notes are stage-notes, and these have been lavishly supplied; their helpfulness in a school edition seems as yet to be imperfectly recognized. They come from many sources. Some are traditional, as Falstaff's by-play with his shield (p. 223), or the exquisite suggestion for Thisby's suicide, taken from Edward Sharpham's play, The Fleire, 1607, sig. E verso— Faith, like Thisbe in the play, a'has almost killed himself with the scabbard.' The scenes from The Merchant of Venice owe some incidental touches to Mr. R. G. Moulton's brilliant study of the plot in his Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist; in the trial scene I have used the suggestions of the distinguished actor, Edwin Booth, as recorded by Dr. Furness; for Shylock throughout I have drawn freely on my own memories of Sir Henry Irving's great impersonation. To my friend and

old colleague, the Rev. F. A. Hibbert, Head Master of Denstone College, I owe warm thanks for the loan of his privately annotated acting-copies. A play of Shakespeare is performed at Denstone yearly, and my experience as a stage-manager there has contributed not a little to the making of this book. I desire to place on record my debt to the boys of my old company; they taught me much, whatever I taught or failed to teach them.

For further help than is given by stage-notes, there is the glossary, and, above all, there is, or there should be, the

Val. We

teacher. With the extracts from Cymbeline, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, the charming narrative in Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare may be read with advantage; with the historical pieces, Holinshed and North's Plutarch. An attempt is made in the Introduction to show the dramatic significance of the sources.

Lastly, I am under the deepest obligation to Mr. Sidney Lee, and to his publishers, Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co., for permission to reproduce from the illustrated edition of Mr. Lee's Life of William Shakespeare the old sketch of the Swan Theatre which reappears as the frontispiece of this book. The original is preserved in the University Library at Utrecht, and Mr. Lee's reproduction of it is more accurate in detail than earlier presentations. What use I have made of the privilege will be seen from the Introduction; those who use this book will be grateful to the distinguished scholar who has enabled them to see the old theatre instead of merely reading about it.

P. S.

ST. OLAVE's GRAMMAR SCHOOL,
TOWER BRIDGE, S.E.

December 28, 1905.

[ocr errors]

ward IV, Part I

i. A Royal Guest (Act iii, Sc. ii)

ii. The Return Visit (Act v, Sc. V)

184

184

188

« EdellinenJatka »