Home  »  Volume V: English THE DRAMA TO 1642 Part One  »  § 13. Le Tourneur

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XII. Shakespeare on the Continent

§ 13. Le Tourneur

The first volume of Le Tourneur’s work appeared in 1776; it is a sumptuous quarto and opens with an imposing list of subscribers headed by the king and queen. The quality of the translation—which is in prose—is not of a very high order; but compared with that of La Place and other contemporary efforts, it marks a very considerable advance. The introduction expatiates in no measured terms on the greatness and universality of Shakespeare’s genius, on his insight into the human heart and his marvellous powers of painting nature. In this eulogy, Le Tourneur had not omitted to mention as Shakespeare’s equals the French masters of the seventeenth century, Corneille, Racine and Molière; but not a word was said of the French theatre of the translator’s own time.