Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > The Text of Shakespeare > Johnson’s edition
  Warburton’s ignorance of the old Text and of Shakespeare’s language Scientific criticism of Capell  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

XI. The Text of Shakespeare.

§ 15. Johnson’s edition.


Nearly twenty years elapsed before another edition appeared. But there were two men busy with the text, in the interval. One was Samuel Johnson; though his critics were wondering when the subscribers would get their book. 22  It appeared, at last in 1765. The text was based on Warburton’s edition; but all his [char] were carefully excised. Ill as Johnson was equipped physically for the arduous work of collating texts, he was responsible for restoring many readings from the old copies, which had escaped Theobald’s vigilance. Some of these are of the minutest character (such as “momentany” for “momentary,” “fust” for “rust”). He also brought back several passages from the quartos, which were wanting in the folio. He made no striking conjectures, but several useful emendations by him have passed into the text of to-day. He was attacked with uncalled-for vehemence by William Kenrick, who undertook to expose his “ignorance or inattention.” As a matter of fact, Johnson’s text had a distinct value, due to his own restorations; this, however, was speedily eclipsed by the publication of Capell’s edition in 1768.   29

Note 22. Polonius’s “I ’ll sconce me even here,” is due to Hanmer’s conjecture for “silence,” and Helena’s “Yours would I catch,” for the reading of the quartos and folios “Your words I catch,” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Warburton’s ignorance of the old Text and of Shakespeare’s language Scientific criticism of Capell  
 
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