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A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY
AND AN ESTIMATE OF THE
FACTS, FANCIES, FORGERIES, AND FABRICATIONS,
LIFE AND WORKS,
WHICH HAVE APPEARED IN REMOTE AND RECENT LITERATURE.
BY SAMUEL NEIL,
AUTHOR OF "THE ART OF BEASONING," "THE ELEMENTS OF BHETORIC," ETC., ETC.
“What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend ?
Shakespere's Sonneis: 32.
65, PATERNOSTER ROW.
The present opusculum aims at supplying a concise synopsis of the known facts of Shakespere's life, arranged—for the first time, we believe, in literature-in strictly chronological order. These it has been the author's endeavour to distinguish carefully from deductions made from them, or fancies arising out of them. The forgeries and fabrications which have accumulated, in modern times, regarding the great dramatist and his works, have been sifted and criticized, and the results of these investigations are so laid before the reader now as to enable him to decide upon each disputed point for himself.
The introductory chapter contains an explicit statement of the author's intention, means, and method.
It only remains to be told that four papers published in the “British Controversialist” form the basis of the present brochure. The acceptance they met with from Shakesperean critics has encouraged the writer to venture on this re-issue. The writing comprised in them has, however, undergone revision and re-arrangement; and these pages contain considerably more than treble the amount of matter submitted to criticism in those articles.
Some subsidiary matter and notes have been relegated to an Appendix; and a “Tabular View" of Shakespere's works, with their dates, compiled from the best authorities, has been added.
It is hoped that the work will be found complete and useful, though concise.