Winter 1952 • Vol. XIV No. 1 Nonfiction |

Dover Wilson on “Macbeth”

Mr. Dover Wilson's arguments, in his edition of the play (1947), for an early revision by Shakespeare himself, designed to shorten it for a Court performance, seem to me valuable but untrue. Valuable, that is, because they draw attention to points you do not easily notice otherwise, and untrue because these points add to the dramatic effect when noticed; it is therefore unnecessary to suppose they are confusions due to revision. All this is separate from the generally accepted opinion, not questioned either by Mr. Dover Wilson or myself, that the scenes and passages involving Hecate were added later by Middleton, and that one or two short passages were added by Shakespeare especially to please James I. Admittedly, if that is so, it makes an unusually short play even shorter; and many critics have used that as an argument for believing in substantial cuts. I don't mean to deny the possibility, but don't feel that much can be built on it. In any case, the play gives great opportun

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
William Empson (1906-1984) is best known for his first work, Seven Types of Ambiguity: A Study of Its Effects on English Verse (1930). He was an English poet and supported the school of literary criticism known as New Criticism through his many works and his critical process. Empson encouraged a close and detailed reading of works and was well known for his ability to explain meaning in poetic language.

Read More

Tom Jones

By William Empson

Mr. Dover Wilson's arguments, in his edition of the play (1947), for an early revision by Shakespeare himself, designed to shorten it for a Court performance, seem to me valuable […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.