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\HIS dictionary is designed to treat the proper names in Shakespeare's plays and poems on a plan as comprehensive as that adopted for his general
vocabulary in Alexander Schmidt's well-known Shakespeare Lexicon (3rd edn. 1902), and thus to furnish an aid to students which has hitherto been lacking.
In Schmidt's valuable book the signification of every word in the poet's vast vocabulary is discussed ; but although the names of persons and places are formally recorded, as words, they are summarily dismissed-usually in a line—as scarcely falling within the scope of the work.
The present dictionary, however, has a quite different aim, and consists of detailed articles, arranged in alphabetical order, not merely on the dramatis personae, but on every proper name, be its importance great or sinall, which occurs in the First Folio |(1623), Pericles, and the poems generally attributed to Shakespeare.
The subjects dealt with may be classed under the following six heads : (i) characters recorded in, or based on, medieval history, such as Pandulf, Hotspur, Macbeth ; (ü) Greek and Roman historical and legendary characters, such as Ulysses, Brutus, Cleopatra ; (iii) purely fictitious characters, such as Ariel, Malvolio, Othello ; (iv) persons mentioned, or alluded to, who do not figure as dramatis personae ; (v) placenames ; (vi) miscellaneous subjects, not comprised under any of the foregoing heads, such as festivals, seasons, planets, and the titles of books and tunes.
In the case of characters drawn from medieval history, their authentic biographies -so far as relevant-are sketched, their dramatic action in the plays is summarized, the dramatist's indebtedness to, and divergences from, Holinshed, Hall, and other chroniclers are noted, and attention is drawn, upon occasion, to the same characters when they appear in earlier non-Shakespearean plays.
A parallel plan is adopted in the case of the classical characters, Sir Thomas North’s Plutarch being the equivalent of Holinshed's Chronicles as the main source in the historical plays, and Ovid—especially in his Metamorphoses-providing the chief storehouse of myth and legend.
Fictitious characters are similarly dealt with, so far as their dramatic action is concerned, and their prototypes, if any, ir. earlier plays and romances are indicated.
Personages—Biblical, mythological, and historical—who, though not dramatis personae, are mentioned or alluded to are duly recorded.
All place-names appear, but only such details in connexion with them as are strictly germane to the subject are given.
Certain personal names are also inserted which, although not occurring in the text, claim admission, since they are met with in the introductory pages of the First