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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

§ 27. Value of recent American Criticism

It seems supererogatory to add to this survey of Shakespeare abroad a word on Shakespeare in America; so far as our literature is concerned, America is not, and never has been, “abroad,” and, in the case of Shakespeare especially, it would be invidious to set up any limits within the area of the earth’s surface where the English tongue is spoken. But some tribute ought at least to be paid to the independence and originality of American contributions to Shakespearean criticism and research. By borrowing the best elements in English critical methods and combining them with German thoroughness and patience, American scholars, in recent years, have thrown much light on dark places and contributed very materially to our understanding of Shakespeare’s work. In the first line stands the admirable Variorum Edition of Shakespeare’s plays founded by Howard Furness in 1873. The leading American actors, too, such as Edwin Booth, J. B. Booth and Edwin Forrest have distinguished themselves by fresh and stimulating interpretations of Shakespeare’s greater tragedies on the stage.