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PREFACE.

The aim in the present series is to offer a satisfactory text of each play with as full an equipment of introduction and notes as is necessary for thorough intelligibility. In the case of Hamlet, the text presents a problem of exceptional difficulty. Each of the two main sources of the text, the second Quarto and the first Folio, contains passages not found in the other. Modern editions include both sets of passages, thus giving a form of the play considerably longer than any presented on the stage in Shakspere's time. The present text is based on the second Quarto, the longer of the two early versions, and the additional passages from the first Folio are enclosed in square brackets. It is thus possible to read the play in what is, so far as length is concerned at least, one of the forms in which it was acted on the Jacobean stage; while all the advantages of a complete text, compiled from both sources, are preserved.

The first section of the introduction, dealing with Shakspere and the drama, is intended to give the student an idea of the place of the play in literary history. In the treatment of the source of the play the attempt has been made to give the essential facts with regard to the earlier forms of the story in as simple a form as is consistent with accuracy. Bo many theories have been put forth with regard to the relations of the ** different versions'that it was manifestly, impos

sible to mention more than a very few and in his "It selection of these the editóri has been guided by

his own judgment. The limits of the scope of - this series have made necessary at times à sum- mary treatment or even a neglect of views which *the realizes are entitled to a considération more Lidetarted that was possible here. 1o Thørsections on {}f language and metre pregentisome of the peculiari-*ties of Shakspéreig English land) versification in

a more systematic fashion than is possible in sepso grate notesb80992 ont no huesd ei tot 100211 ikh Although the task of aesthetic interpretation

has been, for the most part; left to the teacher, bithe editor has ventured to draw attention in the

notes to some of the more important points in

the strúcture of the plot and lin the exposition of e9 character. No attempt; however, has been made & to argue the great controverted questions of the

play, though it is hardly to be expected thats all Yatraces of the editor's attitude on these have been o avoided !i ei muumb 900 bis 919gersdate din VEKU Among previous editions used in the preparaetion of the present volume, Dr. Furness's Vario

rum Hamlet' has been, as usual, of immense

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service. To the more recent studies of Professor Boas in his new edition of Kyd, and of Professor A. H. Thorndike in the brilliant discussion quoted in the introduction, special obligations must be acknowledged. Of a debt somewhat different in kind, the editor has been constantly reminded in the writing of these notes. The major part of what is of value in them is due to the training received from his teachers, the late Professor Child and Professor George Lyman Kittredge, both of Harvard. It is impossible after a lapse of years to distinguish the precise source of individual interpretations, so that this general statement of indebtedness and gratitude must perforce take the place of detailed acknowledgements.

For further details on the life and works of Shakspere, the following may be referred to: Dowden's Shakspere Primer and Shakspere, His Mind and Art; Sidney Lee's Life of William Shakespeare; William Shakspere, by Barrett Wendell; Shakspere and His Predecessors, by F. S. Boas; and The Age of Shakespeare, by Allen and Seccombe. The most exhaustive account of the English Drama down to the eighteenth century is A. W. Ward's History of English Dramatic Literature. Both this work and that of Sidney Lee are rich in bibliographical information. For questions of language and grammar, see A. Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon, J. Bartlett's Concordance to Shakespeare, E. A. Abbott's Shake

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