Library policies Library hours Library catalogue More than 10,000 books in the database!
Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear (1709)
written by "Rowe, Nicholas, 1674-1718"
...ted with the faults of his age, faults that even Jonson did not always escape. Shakespeare was often incorrect in grammar; he frequently sank to flatness or soared into bombast; his wit could be coarse and low and too dependent on puns; his plot structure was at times faulty, and he lacked the sense for order and arrangement that the new taste valued. All this he could and did admit, and he was impressed by the learning and critical standards of Rymer's attack. But like Samuel Johnson he was not often prone to substitute theory for experience, and like most of his contemporaries he felt Shakespeare's power to move and to convince. Perhaps the most trenchant expression of his final stand in regard to Shakespeare and to the whole art of poetry is to be found in his letter to Dennis, dated 3 March, 1693/4. Shakespeare, he said, had genius, which is "alone a greater Virtue ... than all the other Qualifications put together." He admitted that all the faults pointed out by Rymer are real enough, but he added a question that removed the discussion from theory to immediate experience: "Yet who will read Mr. Rym[er] or not read Shakespear?" When Dryden died in 1700, the age of Jonson had passed and the age of Shakespeare was about to begin. The Shakespeare of Rowe's Account is in most essentials the Shakespeare of Restoration criticism, minus the consideration of his faults. As Nichol Smith has observed, Dryden and Rymer were continually in Rowe's mind as he wrote. It is likely that Smith is correct in suspecting in the Account echoes of Dryden's conversation as well as of his published writings;[10] and the respect in which Rymer was then held is evident in Rowe's desire not to enter into controversy with that redoubtable critic and in his inability to refrain from doing so. If one reads the Account in Pope's neat and tidy revision and then as Rowe published it, one is impressed with its Restoration quality. It seems almost deliberately mode...

This book you can borrow for use directly by visiting our library!