Winter 1940 • Vol. II No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1940 |

The Posthumous Wolfe

Shakespeare by Mark Van Doren. New York. Henry Holt. $3.00 The scope of Mr. Van Doren’s book is stated on the first page. For a reader "already acquainted with the poems and plays to consider them as human documents and as works of art,” the author undertakes "with neither novelty nor convention as my guide, to say the things that seemed to me essential.” On these terms the book discusses first the poems, and then, in roughly chronological order, the plays. Mr. Van Doren’s restrictives are well chosen. The plan is certainly not novel; and it must be said further that the author has no new facts to reveal, though he is obviously well abreast of Shakespearean scholarship. The result is, in essence, simply William Shakespeare as seen by Mark Van Doren; and it is mainly because Mr. Van Doren has an interesting mind that he has written an interesting book. The author’s basic conception of Shakespeare is that he was a poet more interested in life than in art. In his Int

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