1919 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Jortin

Richard Foster Jones, in Lewis Theobald (1919) 221-22.



Another classical critic to do pioneer work in the textual study of English classics was the Reverend John Jortin, a friend of Theobald and "a scholar in every sense of the word." Owing to the influence of Shakespeare Restored his first interest was in the subject of that treatise. He and Theobald had discussed the need of a revision of Shakespeare's poems, and had Thirlby published his edition of the dramatist, Jortin would have assisted in pointing out the passages wherein the classics seem to be imitated. Turning away from Shakespeare, however, in 1734 he published his Remarks on Spenser's Poems and on Milton's Paradise Lost, practically all of which are concerned with verbal criticism, though the author is somewhat fearful of emending. He points out Spenser's peculiarities in spelling, pronunciation, meter, and diction. He carefully studies the context of passages he emends, and some of his remarks show Theobald's fondness for parallel passages.