With Commentary by Samuel H. Monk.
lists character after character from these plays as instances of Shakespeare's ability to depict the manners. Have we perhaps here a response to Shakespeare read as opposed to Shakespeare seen? Certainly the romantic comedies could not stand the test of the critical canons so well as did the Merry Wives or even _Othello_; and they were not much liked on the stage. But it seems probable that a generation which read French romances would not have felt especially hostile to the romantic comedies when read in the closet. Rowe's criticism is so little original, so far from idiosyncratic, that it is unnecessary to assume that his response to the characters in the comedies is unique.
Be that as it may, it was well that at the moment when the reading public began rapidly to expand in England, Tonson should have made Shakespeare available in an attractive and convenient format; and it was a happy choice that brought Rowe to the editorship of these six volumes. As poet, playwright, and man of taste, Rowe w
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