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BEING AN ABRIDGMENT, CHIEFLY FOR THE
USE OF STUDENTS, OF
A LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
EDITOR OF THE DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY
HONORARY DOCTOR OF LETTERS IN THE VICTORIA UNIVERSITY
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
Ali rights reserved
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Norwood Mass. U.S.A.
.TO THE GREAT VARIETY OF READERS'
SHAKESPEARE's First Folio, Sig. A 3
This work is a reprint, with some omissions and abbreviations, of the author's Life of William Shakespeare,' and is designed for the use of students and general readers who seek a complete and accurate account of the great dramatist's career and achievement in a small space at a moderate cost. The aim of the volume is to present, in language as terse and definite as possible, the net results of trustworthy research respecting Shakespeare's life and writings. In regard to topics of controversy the author confines himself to a statement of his final conclusions, and ventures to refer to the unabbreviated editions of the book all who desire to examine the grounds on which those conclusions are based. The footnotes in the larger editions give ample references to original authorities and discuss in detail points of doubt and difficulty ; but although these footnotes are now omitted, the more pertinent pieces of illustrative information which they contain are incorporated in the present text. In accordance, too, with the distinctive scheme of this volume, the chapters which in former editions dealt at length with the character and significance of Shakespeare's sonnets have been greatly abridged, and those sections of the Appendix which were deemed essential to the exhaustive discussion of the subject have been excluded. But sufficient information has been retained to make the story of the sonnets perfectly coherent, and to indicate the precise lines of study
that have led the author to the solutions, which he offers here, of the difficult problems which the poems present.
At the end of the volume will be found, as in the former editions, a succinct bibliography of Shakespearean literature and a note on the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy. The pictorial illustrations include the 'Droeshout' painting or * Flower portrait' of Shakespeare in photogravure, facsimiles of all surviving specimens of his handwriting, a reproduction of the title-page of the First Folio edition of his works, and a facsimile of the contemporary inscription in Jaggard's presentation copy of the First Folio, now belonging to Mr. Coningsby Sibthorp. The full list of contents is intended to serve the purpose of a chronological table of the events and literature of which the book treats. Finally, it is hoped that the elaborate index will give the student ready control of the somewhat varied stores of information which the volume brings under his survey.