ERROR IN SHAKESPEARE
197pp. Palgrave Macmillan.
59.99 [pounds sterling] (paperback, 44.99 [pounds sterling]).
"We have scarce any book in the English tongue more fertile of errors than the plays of Shakespeare." So said the eighteenth-century Shakespeare editor Lewis Theobald, and so says Alice Leonard in Error in Shakespeare. Leonard argues that error is at its most fertile in Shakespeare's early comedies and histories; her study is accordingly limited to these plays, in which error is "casual" rather than "causally destructive", as it is in the tragedies (think of the handkerchief in Othello). A "defence of the centrality of error to Shakespeare" (in the words of Adam Smyth, who writes a foreword), this book wanders from the more strictly "erroneous" to the "errant" and the "erratical". It has...