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Shakespeare is above all writers,

Shakespeare is above all writers, at least above all modern writers, the poet of nature; the poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of life. His characters are not modified by the customs of particular places, unpractised by the rest of the world; by the peculiarities of studies or professions, which can operate but upon small numbers; or by the accidents of transient fashions or temporary opinions: they are the genuine progeny of common humanity, such as the world will always supply, and observation will always find. His persons act and speak by the influnce of those general passions and principles by which all minds are agitated, and the whole system of life is continued in motion. In the writings of other poets a character is too often an individual; in those of Shakespeare it is commonly a species.

Except from The Major Works by Sammuel Johnson
参考译文

莎士比亚的才华高于一切作家,至少高于当今的所有作家。他是一位自然的诗人,他的作品将人间百态真实地展现在读者眼前。他的人物塑造并不拘泥于只为一部分人所遵循的某个特定地区的习俗,也不局限于一小部分人所从事的特定的研究或职业,也不追随短暂的潮流或暂时的思想观点:他们据有人们一贯具备的、普遍的人性特点。就像世界能永不竭地供应,眼睛能永不停地发现。他笔下人物的一言一行都受那些能够触动所有人的大众化的情感和能使整个生命体系得以延续的普遍原则所影响。在其他诗人的作品中,一个人物往往就是一个个体,而莎翁笔下的人物通常代表着一类人。  

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