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Shakespeare, it was a man of kindred, if not equal, genius. It was a man, moreover, whose outlook on life was strangely similar to that we find developed in the later plays. That there were two men so greatly gifted living at the same time, the one unknown and obscure, the other already famous, is an hypothesis too grotesque to be worth a moment's consideration. Or that the obscure man could have supplied the famous man with all these great plays without this prolonged and gigantic fraud being discovered is quite, to my mind, beyond the bounds of possibility. Surrounded by jealous and bitter rivals as Shakespeare was, such a fraud must have been immediately exposed. All I ask of the reader is, that he clear his mind of the cant and prejudice which will not listen to argument because the play is not to their taste, and therefore "cannot be by Shakespeare." Shakespeare's greatness lies greatly in this, that he took a wider and larger grip of the whole facts of life and human experience than any other author. In doing so he had to include the horrible, the criminal, and the revolting, just as he had in another direction to include the impure as well as the pure, the coarse and the obscene as well as the refined and the noble. Now I know this will seem to many very shocking, like many of the daily facts of life, but I say that it is impossible for any author to represent life in its totality, unless he is allowed a like moral range. Scott, for instance, will always seem limited in his presentment of life compared with Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and even Fielding. It is not mere prurience that takes us to Rabelais and Boccaccio, or to the coarser poems of Dunbar and Burns. It is that we feel that these authors are holding nothing back from us, and are painting
life as it is, beneath the veneer of civilisation and conventional morals. No doubt these authors emphasise this lower side of human nature, but they help to fill out that picture of life which it is the function of literature to present. Shakespeare stands almost, if not quite, alone in his extraordinary moral range from the lowest, the most horrible, the most villainous, up to characters which unite the sweetness of indubitable womanhood with the endurance of the martyr and the purity of the angel. In his early plays Shakespeare does not reach these heights; though Lavinia (pace Mr. Symons), as a first study in pure suffering womanhood, is not unworthy of the future creator of Cordelia and Imogen.
There remains to me only the pleasant business of thanking those scholars and gentlemen to whom I have been so largely indebted for assistance in my labours on this play.
I will begin with Mr. W. J. Craig, the general Editor of the Arden Series, whose indefatigable zeal in revising and supplementing my notes to the play I cannot too warmly acknowledge. Next in order I would name my friend, Professor Arnold Schröer, formerly of Freiburg (in Breisgau) University, and now in the Handels-Hochschule in Cologne, My indebtedness to Professor Schröer dates back to my Freiburg days when I attended his lectures-some of them on Shakespeare's plays—and had much interesting converse with him on such matters. But in the present case I have received help from him in several ways. In the first place, his treatise on this play, already referred to more than once, has been of great service to me, and is in my opinion one of the soundest and most
scholarly utterances on the subject with which I am acquainted. In the next place, I have to thank him for putting at my disposal not only his rich private library, but also that in the English Seminar of the HandelsHochschule in Cologne. Further, I am in his debt for valuable criticisms and advice regarding this work, and especially this Introduction.
Next in order I must put on record the generosity displayed by Mr. Charles Crawford in putting at my disposal his wonderful acquaintance with Elizabethan literature. I was not previously known to Mr. Crawford, and we have never met, but he has spared no trouble, not only in giving me the benefit of his researches, but in writing me fully on various interesting points.
My work on this play demanded that I should have all the literature of the subject at hand, a matter perhaps impossible in any one place except the British Museum. I am therefore glad of this opportunity of mentioning the great consideration and courtesy with which I have been treated, not only by the library officials in my own University of St. Andrews and in University College, Dundee, but also those of the University of Edinburgh, who kindly lent me works of great value for my purpose.
Nor should I feel justified in closing this list of thankofferings without mention of the assistance I received from Mr. Appleton Morgan's admirable Introduction to this play in the Bankside Shakespeare, and to Mr. Arthur Symons for his trenchant and stimulating preface to the Facsimile Edition of this drama. I have learnt much from the other articles, too numerous to mention here, to which I make reference in the notes to this Introduction, or to
the text of the play. Nor should I neglect to acknowledge the invaluable assistance received from such works as The New English Dictionary, Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon, Abbott's Grammar, and Bartlett's Concordance.
It may, perhaps, be better to guard against any possibility of misapprehension on the part of my readers, if I conclude by restating in few words exactly what my position is regarding this much-disputed play.
I do not think I take up an extreme, still less an untenable, position when I say that I believe-for absolute proof is out of the question-that Titus Andronicus, in the version which we have, is essentially and substantially the work of the same author as the later and greater plays which were, in common with it, attributed to Shakespeare during his lifetime. I do not maintain that every line and passage is Shakespeare's own original writing. But I do hold that the play, as a whole, betrays, not only in detail, but perhaps still more in the general structure and modelling, in its characterisation, its outlook on life, and what I call its "moral resultant," such unmistakable signs of the same fictive and creative powers, which we find in perfection in his acknowledged masterpieces, that we must hold him responsible, whether we like it or no, for the drama as it stands.