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neous, they will throw light upon each other's fallacy. And so, the author's own sense of utility and propriety, concurs with the desire he has found expressed in many quarters, to have these scattered Studies, so far as they have yet extended, once for all printed as a uniform collection.
Had he, indeed, possessed leisure for the task, he might have preferred casting into some more solid and systematic form, his thoughts on so great, and deep, and various a subject ; but from this he is at present withheld by pressing literary avocations. He has therefore found it the most eligible as well as natural course, to range the several essays in this volume, simply in the chronological order in which they were written and published, — partly in the weekly columns of “The Athenæum’ for February, March, and April, 1843, and for July and August, 1844,—and partly in the quarterly pages of “The Westminster Review' for March, 1844, and September, 1845.
The principle of the publication, then, being that of a collective reprint, the author has only now to state what, in the way of alteration or addition, has occurred in the course of editing the present volume.
Substantial alteration there is none; but in the essay on
• Macbeth' a slight transposition has been made, which has the effect of giving closer logical coherence to the original argument. The arrangement of all the matter in sections, with a distinct heading to each, will, he believes, be found an acceptable convenience and facility to the reader. As regards additions, they are only such as have necessarily arisen out of the very nature and form of the pieces now collected. Some paragraphs at the
end of the concluding paper on “ As You Like It' are restored, having been suppressed for a reason of editorial convenience which has no application here; and in like manner, a short section is added to the papers on Much Ado About Nothing,' which want of time and space excluded at their first publication. Both were requisite, to complete the essays according to the writer's original design. Some brief additions of another kind have grown as naturally out of the lapse of time since each of the several papers appeared, -considered with reference to the nature of the subject, and the method of treating it adopted by the author at the commencement. These latter additions, made by way of postscript, regard the subsequent history of Shakespearian acting: the matters of fact which they record, will at once evince their propriety. And finally, the general considerations which he places at the head of this volume in a prefatory form, have resulted of necessity from the convictions that have been more and more impressed upon his mind by the successive examinations in detail which occupy the subsequent pages.
October 19th, 1847.