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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... than still to follow the cautious steps of timid Imitators through trite and common
roads , Genius is of a bold enterprizing nature , ill adapted to the formal restraints
of critic institutions , or indeed to lay down to itself rules of nice discretion .
... with the highest veneration , Mr . Voltaire alone excepted ; whofe tranflations
often , whose criticisms still oftener , prove he did not perfectly una derstand the
Words of the Author ; and therefore it is certain he could not enter into his
I will own , I was incited to this undertaking by great admiration of his genius , and
still greater indignation at the treatment he has received from a French wit , who
seems to think he has made prodigious concessions to our prejudices in favour ...
He saw the powerful agency of living words , joined to moving things , when still
Narration yields the place to animated Action . . . It is as a moral philosopher , not
as the mere connoisseur in a polite art , that Ariftotle gives the preference ...
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 fpectator .
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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