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One Shakespearean scholar ahas said “All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare, is— that he was born at Stratford-upon-Avon-married and had children there went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays—returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried.” In one way this is true but we can know by studying the children of his mind what kind of a man he was. And as the centuries pass by it is not the details of a man's life that interest us but the character of the man, himself, and his thoughts, and what he left to posterity.
Some of us have much leisure time at our disposal and can spend our hours in following this pleasurable study; others have a work that gives an opportunity for the same study; but the majority of us have so many duties that the study-hours are few and far between and they generally come when we are physically tired and unable to enjoy delving for the beauties and meanings of the author. For this last group is this set of SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS especially designed, although the others may find it of some interest.
In the first volume is a Life of the Poet by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, of the merits of which it is unnecessary to speak here since its author's name is an assurance of its accuracy and its attractiveness. This is followed by a CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SHAKESPEARE's Plays, by a LIST OF CONTEMPORARY PLAYS, and by an INDEX OF THE
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAYS. In the remaining volumes are the works of Shakespeare. Each play is preceded by a Preface by Israel Gollancz, M.A., an Introduction by Henry Norman Hudson, A.M., Comments by Shakespearean Scholars, and a Synopsis by the Editor; notes, explanatory and critical, by three scholars, Israel Gollancz, Henry Norman Hudson, and C. H. Herford, accompany the text, being placed on the same page as the matter to which they refer; a Glossary by Israel Gollancz, M.A., and Study Questions complete each volume.
It is not necessary to acknowledge in this Preface our obligations to other editors of Shakespeare's works, for we have credited every quotation or comment where we have used it.
J. ELLIS BURDICK NEW YORK CITY.