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CRITICISMS ON HIS GENIUS AND WRITINGS; A NEW CHRONOLOGY OF HIS
PLAYS; A DISQUISITION ON THE OBJECT OF HIS SONNETS ;
AND A HISTORY OF
THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AMUSEMENTS, SUPERSTITIONS, POETRY,
AND ELEGANT LITERATURE OF HIS AGE.
BY NATHAN DRAKE, M.D.
“LITERARY HOURS,” « ESSAYS ON PERIODICAL LITERATURE," &c.
SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX; TRUCHY, BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS; THEOPHILE BARROIE,
ALL THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS ON THE CONTINENT.
Though two centuries have now elapsed, since the death of Shakspeare, no attempt has hitherto been made to render him the medium for a comprehensive and connected view of the Times in which he lived.
Yet, if any man be allowed to fill a station thus conspicuous and important, Shakspeare has undoubtedly the best claim to the distinction; not only from his pre-eminence as a dramatic poet, but from the intimate relation which his works bear to the manners, customs, superstitions, and amusements of his age.
Struck with the interest which a work of this kind, if properly executed, might possess, the author was induced, several years ago, to commence the undertaking, with the express intention of blending with the detail of manners, etc. such a portion of criticism, biography, and literary history, as should render the whole still more attractive and complete.
In attempting this, it has been his aim to place Shakspeare in the foreground of the picture, and to throw around him, in groups more or less distinct and full, the various objects of his design; giving them prominency and light, according to their greater or smaller connection with the principal figure.
More especially has it been his wish, to infuse throughout the whole plan, whether considered in respect to its entire scope, or to the parts of which it is composed, that degree of unity and integrity, of relative proportion and just bearing, without which neither harmony, simplicity, nor effect, can be expected or produced.
With a view, also, to distinctness and perspicuity of elucidation, the
66 SHAKwhole has been distributed into three parts or pictures, entitled,