An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear Compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets: With Some Remarks Upon the Misrepresentations of Mons. de Voltaire
H. Hughs, 1772 - 288 pages
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The epic Poem and the Tragedy , says Aristotle , are purely imitations * ; but the
dramatic is an imitation of the actions of men , by the means of action itself . The
epic is also an imitation of the actions of men , but it imitates by narration .
We have observed narrative imitation to be too faint and feeble a means to excite
passion : declamation , still worse , plays idly on the surface of the subject , and
makes the Poet , who should be concealed in the action , visible to the spectator .
But he rather collects general opinions into maxims , and gives them a form ,
which is easily retained by memory , than extracts any new observations from the
characters in action , which every reader of penetration will find the invariable ...
... the persons from whose conduct , in such circumstances , the subsequent
events are to flow . An intelligent spectator will receive great pleasure from
observing every action naturally arising out of the sentiments and manners of
action ( 89 )
They take any thing to be tragedy , in which there are great persons , and much
lamentation ; but our Poet never represents an action of one fort , and raises
emotions and passions of another fort . He excites the sympathies , and the
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - JamesBoswell - LibraryThing
The admirers of this Essay may be offended at the slighting manner in which Johnson spoke of it; but let it be remembered, that he gave his honest opinion unbiassed by any prejudice, or any proud ... Read full review