Books: Shakespeare Straight

THE NEW NONESUCH SHAKESPEARE (4 vols., 3,995 pp.)—Random House ($35).

In three centuries of academic grubbing, scholars have tidied up and clarified William Shakespeare's manuscripts, making archaic words intelligible to the ordinary reader. But the bard's most dedicated fans want their Shakespeare straight. One such was Herbert Farjeon, a British amateur scholar whose special dread was the day when Shakespeare would be read in "Nu Spelin and Nu Punctuashun." In 1933 he brought out not only the handsomest but the best-edited Shakespeare in existence.

Farjeon took his purist's text from the First Folio (1623) and Quarto editions, made his bow to modernizing scholars...

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