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HENRY IRVING AND FRANK A. MARSHALL.
NOTES AND INTRODUCTIONS TO EACH PLAY BY F. A. MARSHALL
AND OTHER SHAKESPEARIAN SCHOLARS,
NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON BROWNE.
The present volume contains some of the most interesting of Shakespeare's plays. With Henry V. is completed the trilogy, if we may so call it, which has for its hero Henry of Monmouth. In the two first plays of the series Jack Falstaff shared the honours with the serious hero; but in the third and concluding one there is only room for his death; and we have in The Merry Wives of Windsor the promised continuation of his exploits. The three comedies which complete the volume are certainly amongst the best that Shakespeare wrote; if indeed they can be said to have any rivals in this branch of Dramatic Literature, either in our poet's own works or in those of his contemporaries. As in the case of the First Part of Henry IV., a considerable portion of the Notes on Henry V. are by myself. To such Notes I have, in nearly all cases, appended my initials, as many of them involve matters of opinion for which Mr. Adams cannot be held responsible. I have adopted the same means of distinguishing those very few Notes which I have added to other plays edited by any of our collaborators, and also those Stage Histories which I have supplied in some of the Introductions.
We have been fortunate in securing the aid of two such Shakespearean scholars as Mr. A. Wilson Verity and Mr. Arthur Symons, who will, I am glad to say, continue their connection with this edition until its completion,-a task which, without such loyal and able co-operation, could not be accomplished within any reasonable time. The supervision and carrying out of the special features of such a work as this involve an amount of care and labour which, even at the rate of publication announced, leave one little time for any other pursuit.
I wish that Mr. P. A. Daniel could have collaborated to a greater extent in this edition than unfortunately he has been able to do. Such work as he has done on The Merry Wives of Windsor cannot fail to add to the value of the book.
I ought to mention that Mr. Daniel is only responsible for the first part of the Introduction to that play-the Literary History, which is much the most valuable portion. The Stage History, and Critical Remarks, belonging to that play, as well as the Foot-notes to the Text, were added by me.
I have again to thank many correspondents who have kindly furnished me with valuable information, and others who have courteously pointed out some errors or omissions in the volumes already published. All such corrections, or suggested additions, whether made publicly or privately, shall receive most careful attention; but the Corrigenda and Addenda cannot be given till the concluding volume.
F. A. MARSHALL.
London, August, 1888.