Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 26 >> Thacher to The Cualnge Tam B6 >> Theobald

Theobald

edition and shakespeare

THEOBALD, the&-bild, Lewis, English dramatist and Shakespearean scholar: b. Sit tingbourne, Kent, 2 April 1688; d. London, 18 Sept. 1744. His classical attainments were con siderable and by 1715 he had published trans lations of Plato's (Plia.do) ; the 'Electra,' 'Ajax' and (CEdipus Rex' of Sophocles and the (Plutus' and (Clouds' of Aristophanes. He made attempts at verse and tragedy, but suc ceeded in neither. In11725 Pope published his edition of Shakespeare and in 1726 Theobald appeared with a work entitled (Shakespeare Restored, or a Specimen of the many Errors as well Committed as Unamended by Mr. Pope in his late edition of this Poet : designed not only to correct the said Edition, but to restore the true Reading of Shakespeare in all the Edi tions ever published.' Though Pope made grudging use of the manifestly improved read ings suggested by Theobald in his second edi tion, be never forgave the detection of his in competence as an editor and in the first edition of the Dunciad> Theobald figured as hero. In

1733-34 Theobald published an edition of Shakespeare in seven volumes, in the prepara tion of which he had the assistance of Con canen, Thirlby and Warburton. Textual criti cism of Shakespeare owes much to him, for he was the first to discard corrupted readings and in his emendations displayed knowledge, tact and good sense. Subsequent editors have de pended much upon him and have adopted his corrections. At the time of his death he was engaged on an edition of the works of Beau mont and Fletcher, six plays of which he had already completed. Consult Collins, 'Essays and Studies' (London 1895) Nichols, 'Illus trations of Literature' (Vol. II, pp. 204-654).