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The complete works of William Shakespeare

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Pages: 114

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: William Shakespeare

Excerpt from book: INTRODUCTION HAKESPEARE was first a poet, and afterwards a dramatist: the history of his development was the powerful specialisation of general poetical faculty. He was a very conscious artist: he came early to hold clearly defined in his mind the matter appropriate to imagination, a method of work and a philosophy, — by which I mean a way of conceiving the world, — in whose sphere this matter took on intellectual worth, moral order, and sensuous charm, and from whose laws this method proceeded. Life first appeared to him as a lyrical power: in his earlier plays this tone is constant, and often exceeds and impairs their dramatic quality: golden words, the echo of rhyme, the linked melody of stanzaic structure inside the dialogue, the chorus conbination of the speechesat marked points, the line for line antiphony of older drama which he inherited, axe some of these obvious lyrical traits: and lyricism shows its dominancy also in frequent situations and in soliloquy more deeply imbedded in the drama, and even controls character itself, as in Richard II., Queen Margaret, and perhaps Romeo, in whose career of passion the climaxes of the play are not only lyrical moments but take lyrical form, except in the hist act, which is in a greater dramatic manner. This lyricism Shakespeare was slow to disuse, and in his latest work it came back with an autumnal flowering. It was at the first not only youthfully impulsive, but reflective and studious. In " Love's Labour's Lost" may be seen the delight of the young poet conning his art, interested in rhetoric, style, diction: examining, choosing, and refining : concerned with the externals of poetising. The height of his lyricism is reached in "A Midsummer Night's Dream ": and naturally the same play discloses the completion of his self-e...  

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