For a list of plays written by William Shakespeare, see Shakespeare’s plays. The Plays preface to shakespeare full text pdf William Shakespeare was an 18th-century edition of the dramatic works of William Shakespeare, edited by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens. Proposal for the edition was published in 1756.
The edition was finally published in 1765. In the “Preface” to his edition, Johnson justifies trying to determine the original language of the Shakespearean plays.
To benefit the reading audience, he added explanatory notes to various passages. Later editors followed Johnson’s lead and sought to determine an authoritative text of Shakespeare. Samuel Johnson, one of the editors. Johnson began reading Shakespeare’s plays and poetry when he was a young boy.
He would involve himself so closely with the plays that he was once terrified by the Ghost in Hamlet and had to “have people about him”. Johnson’s fascination with Shakespeare continued throughout his life, and Johnson focused his time on Shakespeare’s plays while preparing A Dictionary of the English Language, so it is no wonder that Shakespeare is the most quoted author in it. Johnson came to believe that there was a problem with the collections of Shakespearean plays that were available during his lifetime. Although Johnson was friends with actors such as David Garrick who had performed Shakespeare onstage, he did not believe that performance was vital to the plays, nor did he ever acknowledge the presence of an audience as a factor in the reception of the work.