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HENRY IRVING AND FRANK A. MARSHALL.
NOTES AND INTRODUCTIONS TO EACH PLAY BY F. A. MARSHALL
BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C.;
The present volume contains five plays, and, in addition, Charles Kemble's condensation of the Three Parts of Henry VI. into one play, printed from Kemble's MS. in Mr. Henry Irving's possession. This clever attempt to accomplish a most difficult task has never before been published; and it is hoped that it may prove interesting to all students of dramatic literature. Two of these five plays, the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI., are of more than ordinary length; and, as every endeavour has been made to render the historical notes very complete, this volume, necessarily, extends to greater length than its predecessor. The extracts in the Notes on Richard II. from “The Tragedy of Richard the Second,” the original of which is in the volume of MS. plays in the Egerton Library, now in the British Museum, will be found quite new to nearly all Shakespearian students. The paper alluded to in the Introduction to Richard II., p. 396, has not been printed, as it will be embodied in an edition of the Egerton MS. play which I hope shortly to be able to print among the publications of the New Shakspere Society.
I have to thank Mr. Thomas Catling, the editor of Lloyd's Newspaper and a most ardent lover of Shakespeare, for an important correction with regard to the date of the late Mr. Phelps's production of Love's Labour's Lost at Sadlers Wells Theatre. It was produced not in 1853, as stated in the Stage History of that play (vol. i. p. 4), but on September 30, 1857. I am also indebted to Mr. Catling for the information that Mr. Phelps brought out Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew on November 15, 1856; he himself playing the part of Christopher Sly. I have been favoured with communications from various correspondents; some of which are very useful, and all, no doubt, intended to be so; to those whom I have not been able to answer personally I must here return my thanks. .
It is well to take this opportunity of stating that the Stage History of the plays does not profess to deal with recent representations of Shakespeare's plays, unless they happen to be of exceptional importance; or with isolated representations of the various plays, not produced under the regular management of any theatre. It would be impossible to deal with such performances in this edition, though the record of them would be interesting in any work devoted to the history of our modern stage.
I cannot help acknowledging the very generous recognition which my share of the work has received, not only at the hands of those who have reviewed the first volume in the press, but also from fellow-workers on Shakespeare, who have not only encouraged me with their approbation, but have been most courteous in affording me any help or information which I have asked from them. In the case of two or three short notices which have appeared from the pens of those who evidently have not had time to read the Introductions and Notes, there appears to have been a misconception, on the part of the writers that, because this edition professes to regard Shakespeare chiefly as a writer of plays which were intended not only to be read but to be acted, therefore the criticism of his works, from a literary point of view, has, presumably, been neglected. I cannot plead guilty to any such neglect; as to whether that portion of the work is done ill or well, I must leave to the judgment of those who have the inclination and the time to read it.
In the Third Part of Henry VI. I have had the assistance of Mr. P. Z. Round, to whom all the notes on that play, with the exception of those on the Dramatis Personæ, are due. He has also been of great assistance to me in verifying quotations from works in the British Museum.
F. A. MARSHALL.
London, January, 1888.