Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/15

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

SHAKESPEARE AS A MAN


I am reluctant to break the rule—or what ought to be the rule—that no one should write about Shakespeare without a special licence. Heaven-born critics or thorough antiquaries alone should add to the pile under which his 'honoured bones' are but too effectually hidden. I make no pretence of having discovered a new philosophical meaning in Hamlet, or of having any light to throw upon the initials 'W.H.' I confess, too, that though I have read Shakespeare with much pleasure, I cannot say as much for most of his commentators. I have not studied them eagerly. I spent, however, some hours of a recent vacation in reading a few Shakespeare books, including Mr. Lee's already standard Life and Professor Brandes' interesting Critical Study. The contrast between the two raised an old question. Mr. Lee, like many critics of the highest authority, maintains