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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

§ 3. Awakening of interest in the man

A second period in the history of Shakespeare’s fame and influence outside England begins with the awakening of an interest in the poet’s name and personality. Jusserand has discovered what is probably the earliest occurrence of the name Shakespeare on the continent, in a manuscript entry in the catalogue of the French king’s library (1675–84) by the royal librarian, Nicolas Clément. But the first printed mention of the name is to be found in a German book published in 1682, Unterricht von der Teutschen Sprache und Poesie, by the once famous Polyhistor of Kiel, Daniel Georg Morhof. Three or four years later, the name appears for the first time in a printed French book. So far, however, it is merely a question of Shakespeare’s name and nothing more; and, for the next few years, the continent’s knowledge of Shakespeare extended little beyond isolated remarks copied from Temple’s Essay on Poetry, which had been translated into French in 1693. The earliest biographical lexicon which took notice of Shakespeare was Johann Franz Buddeus’s Allgemeines Historisches Lexicon (1709); and, from Buddeus, the ludicrously inadequate notice—copied from that in Collier’s Historical Dictionary (1701–21)—passed into the various editions of Johann Burckhard Mencke’s Gelehrten-Lexicon (1715, 1725, 1733). Shakespeare, however, is not mentioned either in Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697, 1702, 1740), or in the German translation of Bayle published by Gottsched and his coterie in 1741–4; but Moreri made good the deficiency by briefly mentioning him in his supplement to Bayle (1735).