« AnteriorContinuar »
PREFACE BY THE GENERAL
This series of books aims, first, to give the English texts required for entrance to college in a form which shall make them clear, interesting, and helpful to those who are beginning the study of literature; and, second, to supply the knowledge which the student needs to pass the entrance examination. For these two reasons
it is called The Gateway Series. · The poems, plays, essays, and stories in these small
volumes are treated, first of all, as works of literature, which were written to be read and enjoyed, not to be parsed and scanned and pulled to pieces. A short life of the author is given, and a portrait, in order to help the student to know the real person who wrote the book. The introduction tells what it is about, and how it was written, and where the author got the idea, and what it means. The notes at the foot of the page are simply to give the sense of the hard words so that the student can read straight on without turning to a dictionary. The other notes, at the end of the book, explain difficulties and allusions and fine points.
Preface by the General Editor
The editors are chosen because of their thorough training and special fitness to deal with the books committed to them, and because they agree with this idea of what a Gateway Series ought to be. They express, in each case, their own views of the books which they edit. Simplicity, thoroughness, shortness, and clearness, – these, we hope, will be the marks of the series.
HENRY VAN DYKE.
It has been my aim in preparing this edition of Macbeth to bring one of the greatest creations of English literature within the comprehension of the average school-boy. The biography and introduction have been composed with the hope of awakening in the young student some interest in Shakespeare's life and work, and of thus inducing him to approach the play, not as a piece of task work, but in a spirit of intellectual curiosity.
The text itself has been carefully prepared with a view to reproducing as far as possible the exact words which Shakespeare wrote. One passage alone I have felt called upon to excise, and that has been lifted cleanly out of the play without garbling the context.
The glossarial notes, based for the most part upon Schmidt's Shakespeare Dictionary and the New English Dictionary, have been placed at the bottom of the page in order to save the student's time and distract his attention as little as possible from the real subject of study, the play itself.
The critical and explanatory notes have a twofold purpose. They are meant to explain in the simplest terms possible the difficulties in the text itself and the allusions and references which stand in the way of an intelligent appreciation of the play. And they are also meant to interpret in the simplest fashion the play as a piece of dramatic art, to show the relation of one scene to another, and the place of each in the scheme of the whole. I trust that these notes are not overcopious; their bulk is due to my conviction that the average school-boy is at once incapable of understanding Shakespeare by the light of nature, and that he is in practice wholly dependent for aid upon the text-book which is put into his hands.
The textual notes are an attempt to justify the text here presented. They may, perhaps, serve also in the case of students advanced above the average as an introduction to the study of textual criticism.
The brief note on metre is intended to give the student such elementary knowledge of this subject as is usually required for entrance into college.
In the preparation of this book I have drawn upon many sources, particularly upon Dr. Furness's Variorum edition. I have been particularly fortunate in being able to check and correct my work by reference to Dr. Liddell's scholarly and stimulating commentary in the Elizabethan Macbeth.
In conclusion I wish to thank, not for the first time, Mr. D. L. Chambers and my colleague, Mr. Long, for illuminating suggestion, severe and kindly criticism, and valued assistance in the matter of proof reading.
THOMAS MARC PARROTT. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY.