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not uninteresting novel, “ The Fate of Mansfield Humphreys” (1884), and a series of articles on “The Failure of the Public School System in the United States.” Nor should it be forgotten that by his “ Yankee Letters," written during the Civil War to the London Spectator, he did, in the opinion of that journal, “ as much as any single man to prevent the cultivated public" of Great Britain “from drifting into hopeless error concerning the true issues.”
White's Shakespearian Studies began with a series of papers, contributed to Putnam's Magazine, disputing the value of the so-called Collier Folio, or rather of the manuscript emendations inscribed on it. The subtlety and critical vigour of these articles; their outspoken contemptuousness of ignorance; their exasperating composure and irony compelled attention and made him the first American Shakespearian scholar to win European recognition. These studies were followed, in 1854, by the still useful volume entitled “Shakespeare's Scholar," and the latter essays by the edition of the Works of Shakespeare of which this is a revision. From that edition there were printed, separately, the “Essay on the Authorship of the Three Parts of Henry VI.” (1859), and “Memoirs of William Shakespeare, with An Essay Toward the Expression of His Genius and Account of the Rise and Progress of the English Drama" (1865). He edited also the Riverside Edition of the Works of Shakespeare in three volumes (1883), and, as his last literary labour, gathered from magazines the articles published as “ Studies in Shakespeare” (1885).
A considerable part of this last volume was devoted to glossaries and word-lists, which suggests those studies in linguistics to which his Shakespearian investigations directed him and in which he was least happy. These began with “Words and Their Uses, A Study of the English Language" (1870) and were continued in “Everyday English” (1880). They are interesting for their acute dogmatism, but they lack a broad basis of information. Here, and in his essays on English manners there is most marked a certain whimsicality, and a dogmatism that frequently embroiled him with his contemporaries. Their exasperation was doubtless intensified by the critic's aloofness. Even when dealing with the life of his daily delight, Shakespeare, he could be cynical at times, but never sentimental. He lived, says one of his acquaintances, F. P. Church, wholly apart from the ways and sympathies of the literary class around him, seeking from them neither applause nor intellectual stimulus. Stedman was, for his most strenuous years, a neighbour in East Tenth Street. George William Curtis had been associated with him, in early times; but White was intimate with few, and even his acquaintances seldom thought that they knew him. He was sensitive to the dignity of his profession and prided himself on never having been an applicant for any place or favour. His nerves were strong, though he has left it upon record that even in his day “living in New York was like living in a boiler factory, with the rattle and roar above and below.” He assumed, at least, an independence of approbation, and told Dr. Allibone that he would not write a single page to achieve all the reputation of all the Shakespearian critics that ever lived. In spite of the constant and acrimonious controversies in which his sharp criticisms involved him, he seems to have been quite incapable of malice or jealousy. His keen sense of humour had in it, as his Shakespearian notes abundantly testify, a strong Rabelaisian vein, but he could be described without too extreme partiality, in 1876, by his transatlantic associates as “the most accomplished and the best-bred man that America has sent to England, within the memory of the present generation.”
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Photogravured by Goupil & Co., Paris
"MIRANDA . The Tempest. Act IV., Sc. ii. Frontispiece
From a mezzotint engraving by William Ward, after the
painting by J. Hoppner, R. A. * PROSPERO, MIRANDA, AND ARIEL. The Tempest. Act I., Sc. ii. . . . . . . . . . . 14
From an engraving by T. Deinninger, after the painting by
H. Hofmann. PROSPERO, MIRANDA, AND FERDINAND. The Tempest. Act I., Sc. ii. . . . . . . . . 31
From the painting by Thos. Stothard. SPEED AND LAUNCE. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act II., Sc. v. . . . . . . . . 142
From an engraving by C. W. Sharpe, after the painting
by C. Green. VALENTINE RESCUING SYLVIA. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act V., Sc. iv. . . . . . . 188
From the painting by Holman Hunt. SLENDER AND ANNE Page. The Merry Wives of Windsor. Act I., Sc. i. . . . . . . . . 228 From the painting by A. W. Callcott.