Martin Lings clarifies the essential
greatness of Shakespeare by focussing our attention on the total
impact his best plays make on us when acted. For this purpose he
concentrates on the texts and their theatrical rendering, in such
a way as to transmit to us, at the same time, a powerful impression
of Shakespeare the man such as perhaps no other book can give us.
For the second edition the chapters on Macbeth and The
Tempest were rewritten to more than twice their original length;
and now, for this third edition, the same has been done for the
chapters on Hamlet, King Lear and The Winter’s
Tale, as well as for ‘Notes on Performance and Production’,
with additions to other chapters also.
One reviewer wrote: ‘This book should be read on both sides
of the curtain’, and there have in fact been reviews not only
from in front but also from behind it. Here is one from each side:
‘This short book says more to reveal or suggest what is Shakespeare
is the quintessence of his greatness than the most laborious exposition
could ever do.’ Kathleen Raine. ‘Refreshing and invigorating
. . . it should be on every bookshelf of real lovers of the real
Bard.’ Sir Donald Wolfit.
The Foreword to this edition was written by H.R.H. The Prince of