Specimens of the Elizabethan Drama: From Lyly to Shirley, A. D. 1580 A. D. 1642, With Introductions and Notes

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Excerpt from Specimens of the Elizabethan Drama: From Lyly to Shirley, A. D. 1580 A. D. 1642, With Introductions and Notes

In selecting these specimens of the Elizabethan Drama the editor has been guided, as far as possible, by the following principles. He has endeavoured to choose typical and representative scenes, illustrating the various kinds of work done by each dramatist, such scenes being complete in themselves, containing as many as possible of the chief characters, and forming episodes of the main plot. It seemed unnecessary to include Shakespeare or extracts contained in Lamb's Specimens. With these limitations the pieces have been chosen for their literary merit, and if in any case the editor seems to have failed in this respect, he can only plead the difficulty of gleaning after Lamb, and the impossibility of pleasing all tastes. His aim has been to convey to the reader who, for one reason or another, is unable to study the collected works of the Elizabethan dramatists, a fair general impression of their average style and spirit. In the short appreciations prefixed to each section, while carefully considering and giving full weight to the opinions of recognized critics, he has tried to form an independent and moderate judgement of his own. The notes, without pretending to be exhaustive, will, it is hoped, be found to provide a satisfactory explanation of the difficulties. The New English Dictionary has been used as far as it is available; elsewhere definitions have frequently been taken from Bailey's Dictionary in preference to more modern works, as giving more precisely the exact shade of meaning which the words connoted to contemporary readers.

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