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The Achievement of George Steevens

Arthur Sherbo

George Steevens was one of the most learned of the eighteenth-century editors of Shakespeare. Indeed, his primary concern throughout his life, when he was not perpetrating one of his learned hoaxes, was the explication of the text of Shakespeare's plays and poems. A well-to-do bachelor, friend of Samuel Johnson and a few other notables, and the enemy of somewhat more members of the intellectual life of London, he had the leisure and the energy to pursue his inclinations. Professor Sherbo traces Steevens' achievement as editor of Shakespeare and collaborator in his friend Isaac Reed's Biographea Dramatica (1782) and in his friend John Nichols' Genuine Works of William Hogarth. Without the labors of Steevens eighteenth-century scholarship would not have made the advances that it did.
Contents: The present work charts Steevens' achievement as editor of Shakespeare from the publication of his edition of Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare in 1766 to his edition of the plays in 1793, with the addition of his posthumous notes in the 1803 Shakespeare. His collaborative efforts are similarly charted.