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Henry Irving, the influential and controversial Victorian actor, was closely involved in the publication of this distinctive Shakespeare edition. As an actor, his concern was largely with the intellectual project of seeing each play as a unified work, rather than with producing strong emotional effects in the audience. In the words of his obituary in The Times, he appealed to scholars 'by his reverent and often acute treatment of the text', and accustomed playgoers to look for 'more than empty amusement'. To the edition, he brought a sense of the plays in performance which has never been equalled before or since. Addressing a general readership, he both included notes on cuts used by professional companies and suggested others that would facilitate amateur performances. Gordon Browne's illustrations, which suggest the contemporary styles of stage costume, are another attractive feature of this edition, which will appeal to Shakespearians and theatre historians alike.