A Review of Doctor Johnson's New Edition of Shakespeare

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - 110 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1765. Excerpt: ... dele the superfluous and, which may well be spared, in the third line, and read, with Theobald, A princess.. and thy father Was duke of Milan, and his heir A princess, no worse issued. Perhaps the reader will be of my opinion, that the passage loses neither sense, spirit, nor propriety by this restoration. As Dr. Johnson tells us in his preface, that he has generally adopted Theobald's notes, unless consuted by subsequent annotators, it is to be wished he had always given his reasons for deviating from him in the text. Vol. I. Page 17. The note contained in this page is so far. a good one, as it is necessary and proper to give the reader an idea of the system of enchantment, on which the plot and machinery of the play is conducted. I should therefore have passed it over as unexceptionable, had it come from any other pen than that of Dr. Johnson. But as the world hath been pleased very publickly to impute sentiments to him, which seem incongruous with those he here prosesses, I cannot pass it over without some little animadversion. The incongruity I mean lies here: the Doctor, I have been frequently informed, very religiously believes in the existence of ghosts and apparitions; although he here strongly insinuates that there never was any such thing practised as witchcrast. But if he believes the story of the witch of Endor, and that the ghost of Samuel appeared to Saul, as doubtless he does, he must believe in the exercise of witchcraft, and also in its power over departed spirits. For, though some divines maintain that it was the devil who appeared in the form of Samuel, and not the ghost of Samuel himself; yet, as Dr. Johnson, in the note before us, adopts the distinction made by king James in his demonology, viz. that an enchanter is one who commands t...

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