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The Sources of Hamlet: with Essay on the legend. By Sir Israel Gollancz. (Humphrey Milford, 7s. 6d. net.).
THE main part of this book consists of the
story of Hamlet in Saxo Grammaticus, set side by side with Prof. Oliver Elton's English translation of it, and the text of Belleforest's account of Hamlet in the Histoires Tragiques' side by side with the English translation, printed in 1608, as The Hystorie of Hambleta version which, in two places, departs from the original, and follows Shakespeare's play. These are preceded by a very valuable essay which the writer intends should supersede his Hamlet in Iceland,' a work which nearly thirty years ago gave fresh impetus to research on the origin and affinities of the Hamlet legend. The central problem, amid several problems, of this study is that of the origin of the name Hamlet. Sir Israel Gollancz deals first with its occurrence in the fragment from Snæbjörn, preserved in the Prose Edda, where the words Hamlet's quern are interpreted as the sea. With this we connect a saying found in Saxo Grammaticus-how Hamlet's companions, as they were passing some sandhills with him, bade him look at the meal, meaning the sand, and he replied 66 that it had been ground small by the hoary tempests of the ocean.' Hamlet, the dullard or imbecile," has long since been compared with Brutus, and Sir Israel gives us à careful discussion of the detail in Saxo Grammaticus which may fairly be taken as derived from the Roman story and worked into his Northern material. This leads on to consideration of the influence of Latin legend, upon the romance of Havelok the Dane,' and opens up the most interesting portion of the whole inquiry. Recent research has identified Havelok-" Havelok Cuheran," as Gaimar's version calls him-with Anlaf Curan, Athelstan's antagonist at Brunanburgh, King of Dublin later on, and a great hero of romance besides. Now the strange thing is that another old fragment of songCeltic song in the Annals of the Four Masters '-purporting to have been composed by Queen Gormfaith as lament for her husband's death, tells how he, Niall Glundubh, was slain by Amhlaihde. Amhlaidhe we are to take as certainly the Irish form of Hamlet, and the earliest occurrence of the name anywhere in literature, for this lament belongs to the year 919. Who was the hero so-named? It would seem that he was Sitric, leader of a Norse invasion, into Ireland, and father of Anlaf Curan. Then Amhlaidhe " must have reference to him. He had two nicknames Caoch," the blind or one-eyed, and Gale or gaile," which our author would connect with the Norse galinn (past participle of gala, to enchant), bewitched or
"mad." This father of Anlaf is dimly connected with some story of a brother slain, though of the history of his early life nothing is definitely known. Have we here disclosure of Celtic origin, or at least strong Celtic influence, for the story and the name of Hamlet? The word in Snæbjörn's verse, as a Teutonic word, stands alone; and its appearance there is to be dated twenty or thirty years after Gormflaith's lament. Will it be traced back to Ireland, representing confluence of the Norse name Anlaf and an Irish word meaning "fantastic " or idiotic?" At any rate Sir Israel Gollancz asserts with confidence that this old Hiberno-Danish history played great part in the story of Hamlet as his conviction told by Saxo Grammaticus and he adheres to that Celtic influences fur
nished a dominant factor in the development of the legend.
The section on Hamlet in Iceland includes a version of the story of Brjám, Brjám being an amlode," that is, an extraordinary being, or idiot, and amlode" having passed out of use as a personal name. In general what we get from Iceland is the folk aspect of the history, the tale of the fool, who preserves his life by his seeming folly and outwits the wise. There is much detail drawn out and discussed in the essay which we cannot touch upon. As is well known, the combination in the Hamlet legend of actual history, folk-tale, borrowings from classical story, and crude, barbarous romance-not without occasional gleams of wild poetryfurnishes a more than usually intricate tangle. The grand result of studying it is a renewed sense of the greatness of the genius, which not only made our 'Hamlet' out of this material presented at so slight a remove from its original crudeness, but also, with a mysterious felicity, caught and kept alive in it a certain dark strangeness-un-English, present only in this play-which still characterizes the literature of Scandinavia.
About Shakespeare and his Plays. By G. F. Bradby (Oxford University Press. 2s. 6d. net).
HIS modest little book is composed of nine essays, in which there is nothing we did not all know before-we, that is to say, who are grey-haired and can remember the nineteenth century views of Shakespeare. It has, however, the two merits of enthusiastic conviction and of freshness, so that it produces the stimulating effect of originality, and we would gladly put it in the way of the young, or of anyone who has not yet had Shakespeare brought home to him. Mr. Bradby does not scrutinize our meagre information about Shakespeare's life to throw doubt on it. He takes it pretty much at its face value, and reckons the second-best bed as marking Anne Shakespeare's second-best place in her husband's esteem. He is not troubled with misgivings about authorship. The chapter on Shakespeare's Stage should be really useful in
increasing the general reader's understanding, for information on special names or places, and thereby his enjoyment, of the plays; in will find his account in these pages. Poetry, Drama, and Humour , we think some of the criticism a little off the point, the existence of conventions in dialogue not being taken into account. We agree with the statement in another chapter that writers and speakers often all unaware, fall into tensyllabled blank verse, but the examples given of this are unhappy and forced. Inferences and Guesses " is a pleasant chapter, which conjectures, among other things, that Shakespeare had rather a horror of darkness, often slept badly, did not like dogs, and in the end found at Stratford what he needed and expected, a rest. The final chapter suggests that his contemporaries, having not so much read his plays as seen them acted, probably valued them for their dramatic interest rather than for their poetry; and implies that it is their poetry which makes their supreme claim.
Calendar of State Papers. America and West Indies. 1710-June, 1711; July, 1711-June, 1712. (Edited by Cecil Headlam. (H.M. Stationary Office. £2 net and £1 10s. net respectively).
Royal to Quebec, a document so extraordinary,
Curia Regis Rolls. Vol. II. 3-5 John. (H.M.
SIR H. C. Maxwell Lyte, in his Preface to
as a in the rolls which it contains, a small number of entries where we almost certainly find the clerk indulging his sense of humour. The handwriting, so far as it can serve as text at all, would seem to indicate that all these entries and those of Vol. III, which offers examples of the same peculiarity, were written by the same man. John being out of England during these years, none of these cases was heard before him. While they present us with nothing very extraordinary they contribute their quota to our knowledge of the time in general, and it need hardly be said that many a student who is hunting
Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. (H.M. Stationery Office. £1 10s. net).
THIS volume, printed under the supervision of H. Ledward, an Assistant Keeper of the Records, who has compiled the index to it, brings the Journal down from November, 1718, to December, 1722. The South Sea Company and its Secretary, Wescombe by name, make appearance here, but not sensationally. Horace Walpole (the elder) as auditor of the plantations attends the board four or five times, concerned on the last occasion with a question raised about extravagant grants of land in New York. The most interesting portions of these journals are those which directly concern the products of the colonies and plantations; the index might perhaps have been made somewhat more detailed in regard to these.
Claude Lorrain and Modern Art. By A. M. HIND. (Cambridge University Press. 2s. 6d. net.).
Rede Lecture for 1926 begins with pointing out that certain phases of modern art which are commonly traced back to Cèzanne, may be observed in work of the fifteenth century and before; going on then to vindicate Claude Lorrain from the well-known depreciation of Ruskin, and to point out the painter's positive achievement, particularly in the inspiration of genius by which he renders light
remarkable not only for the marvel of the result but for the simplicity of the means. Many illuminating remarks will be found both on individual works of Claude and also on certain of Turner's works; and illustration is provided by reproduction of four of Claude's bistre drawings.
WE have received the following new volumes
that excellent The World's Classics, in of publication by the Oxford University Press; Trollope's Dr. Thorne'; Disraeli's Sybil,' with an Introduction by Mr. Walter Sichel; a collection of short detective stories called 'Crime and
Detection,' with an Introduction by Mr. E. M. Wrong; Moritz's Anton translated by Mr. P. E. Matheson with an Introduction; The Apocrypha in the Revised Version; Stevenson's Kidnapped and 'Catriona '; a selection of Milton's Prose made by Professor Wallace of University College, Toronto, with an Introduction on Milton's position with regard to burning questions; and a volume of selections from Gray's Letters with an Introduction by John Beresford. We would have been glad to substitute for Dr. Thorne some one of Trollope's novels which is hard to obtain. Otherwise, each in its way, we find these new volumes a welcome acquisition.
Printed and Published by the Bucks Free Press, Ltd.. at their Offices. High Street
FOR READERS AND WRITERS, COLLECTORS AND LIBRARIANS. Seventy-Seventh Year.
JULY 24, 1926.
Vol. 151. No. 4.
NOTES:-Blake's 'Heads of the Poets,' 57-Some
REPLIES:-The Earldom of Huntingdon: Robin Hood, 64-Ambling-French Chapels in London, Park Coffee-house
Hamlet' an Amendment, 66-Murder of St. Thomas à Becket-Origin of the name of London: Richard Verstegan Long runs on the London stage Redditch: derivation, 67-Von Zedlitz: Chemnicius The United States Geographic Board-William Pryce, M.D., RedruthThe Ladybird-Books bound in human skin, 68-Chennells-Aspirin: Litmopyrine-Little Marlow, Bucks-Petronius: ( The Ephesian Matron --Old Lady Day, 69 Thomas Dermody-Casanoviana: Edward Tiretta China ale: China broth-Illustrators of The Rambler-First use of stone coal, 70 Stew houses 64 hot
houses"-Note on the execution of Charles 1
for in rates of tonnage and poundage-Jansenist crucifixes Mr. Macbean's Military Dictionary '-Radnor Park, Kent, 71.
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THEIR Majesties, with their children and daughter-in-law and son-in-law, have together presented the Dean and Chapter of Westminster with a unique copy of the book known as History of Westminster Abbey,' which was published in 1812. On a blank leaf of the first volume (the work is in two volumes quarto) is record of the presentation in His Majesty's own handwriting, followed by his signature and that of the other donors-Prince George excepted, who is away on the China station, for whose name a place has been left. This copy is the only one printed on vellum; it has two special titles penned by Thomas Tomkins, and further, it is illustrated not by the coloured aquatints of the edition but by the original water-colour drawings of the artists. The letter-press is by "Mr. Combe,' of "Dr. Syntax fame; the drawings are by eight artists, of whom Pugin is the best known. The crimson velvet and brass bindings are from the design of J. B. Papworth. Arrangements are being made for exhibition of the volumes to the public, who will certainly not miss the graceful significance of the gift as unprecedented and as marking the affection of the Royal Family for the Abbey.
IN 1456, says Mr. W. L. Hildburgh in the
current Antiquaries' Journal, an English parish priest making the pilgrimage to Compostella took with him an English
retable of wood with carved alabaster panels and presented it to the shrine. There is a record of the gift in Gallegan Spanish, in which an interesting point is that St. James is there called "" "" Sebedeu (a footnote tells us that he seems often to have been called "Santiago Zebedeo "). The priest, whom the curious names in the document seem to show was a John Goodyear of Cheil or Chale, in the Winchester diocese, made it a condition of his gift that it should never be removed from the church, and there it is to this day-not in use, but preserved in the Capilla de las Reliquias. It consists of five alabaster panels-painted and gilt arranged to form a triptych. The subjects the Apostles; the Preaching of St. James; are the Calling of St. James, the Charge to his Martyrdom and the Translation of his Body from Joppa to Iria Flavia. Two or three circumstances connected with it are worth notice. It appears to be the only known altar-piece giving scenes from the life of St. James; it was ordered from English craftsmen for placing in a specific situation abroad, and was not the repetition of a stock pattern; and it can be assigned to a definite
THE following letter from Sir Edward Brabrook appeared in The Times of July 17, and constitutes a record which should certainly find place in our columns.
Sir, I desire to complete the story of the Royal Society of Literature's Gold Medals, of which a part was told at the recent banquet. In 1824, and every year thereafter during the life of King George IV., two Royal medals were granted by the society at his expense. The first to receive them were W. Milford and A. Mai. In 1825 medals were given to J. Rennell and E. Wilkins; in 1826 to J. Schweighäuser and Dugald Stewart; in 1827 to Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey; in 1828 to George Crabbe and Archdeacon W. Coxe; in 1829 to W. Roscoe and the Baron I. Silvestre de Sacy; and in 1830 to Washington Irving and Henry Hallam. Then the donation from the Privy Purse ceased, and so did the medals, until they were revived of recent years. I write with competence, as I am the 'Father" of the society and have written its history. I am, sir, your obedient servant, E. BRABROOK.
Wallington, July 9. DR. W. W. GREG, under the title "Derby
his Hand-and Soul,' contributes to the