Horace Howard Furness - Encyclopedia




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HORACE HOWARD FURNESS (1833-), American Shakespearian scholar, was born in Philadelphia on the 2nd of November 1833, being the son of William Henry Furness (1802-1896) minister of the First Unitarian church in that city, a powerful preacher and writer. He graduated at Harvard in 1854, and was admitted to the bar in 18J 9, but soon devoted himself to the study of Shakespeare. He accumulated a collection of illustrative material of great richness and extent, and brought out in 1871 the first volume of a new Variorum edition, designed to represent and summarize the conclusions of the best authorities in all languages - textual, critical and annotative. The volumes appeared as follows: Romeo and Juliet (1871); Macbeth (1873) (revised edition, 1903); Hamlet (2 vols., 1877); King Lear (1880); Othello (1886); The Merchant of Venice (1888); As You Like It (1890); The Tempest (1892); A Midsummer Night's Dream (1895); The Winter's Tale (1898); Much Ado about Nothing (1899); Twelfth Night (Igor); Love's Labour's Lost (1904). The edition has been generally accepted as a thorough and scholarly piece of work; its chief fault is that, beginning with Othello (1886), the editor used the First Folio text as his basis, while in others he makes the text of the Cambridge (Globe) editors his foundation. His wife, Helen Kate Furness (1837-1883), compiled A Concordance to the Poems of Shakespeare (1872).

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