11 SEPTEMBER 1920, Page 23

Shakespeare's Fight with the Pirates. By Alfred W. Pollard. (Cambridge

University Press. 7s. 6d. net.).—Mr. Pollard has

reissued his remarkable Sandars Lectures in a revised form, with a new introduction, as the first of a series of little books on Shakespearean problems. His theory, we may remind readers, is that the first Quartos and the first Folio, for the plays not published in quarto, are the best authorities for the text, and that they were probably printed from the prompt-copies, which were probably the author's own manuscripts. Shakespeare, like other dramatists of his day, suffered occasionally at the hands of pirate publishers, but most of the Quartos were published by arrangement with the theatrical companies owning the plays. Mr. Pollard argues his case very clearly and temperately, and strengthens it in his introductory essay. Any one with a practical knowledge of printing will confirm his view that a reprint may well have more errors than a first edition, so that the second and later editions of the Shakespeare Quartos and Folios have no critical authority. Mr. Pollard's remarks on Shakespeare's punctuation as a guide to the actor, though not to the reader, are very suggestive. His little book has the merit of opening up new seams in a mine that seemed to be almost worked out.