Specimens of English Dramatic Poets: Who Lived about the Time of Shakespeare

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Since its first appearance in 1808, this collection of extracts from Elizabethan and Jacobean drama has been highly acclaimed; the twentieth-century critic Edmund Blunden considered it 'the most striking anthology perhaps ever made from English literature'. In compiling the work, the critic and essayist Charles Lamb (1775-1834) aimed to achieve two goals: to illustrate the greatness of Shakespeare's often forgotten contemporaries, and to explore the way in which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Englishmen experienced emotion. He includes only those scenes which he judges to show the best poetry and the deepest passion, adding only brief notes to let the texts speak for themselves. This reissue is of the expanded two-volume edition of 1835. Volume 1 focuses on the plays produced at the height of the Elizabethan theatre's popularity. Including extracts from Kyd, Marlowe and Jonson, among others, it remains a rich resource for literature students.