G. Blakemore Evans

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Gwynne Blakemore Evans (1912–2005) was an American scholar of Elizabethan literature best known for editing the Riverside Shakespeare edition in 1974.


Evans was born in Columbus, Ohio; his father, Marshall B. Evans, was a scholar of German at Ohio State University, and Evans graduated from that university in 1934. He then attained a master's degree at the University of Cincinnati in 1936. His doctorate was received from Harvard University in 1940.

During World War II, Evans served at Bletchley Park in England, a centre of Allied spying and decoding.

After the war, Evans became a professor of English literature, working at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, and finally Harvard, where he became Cabot Professor.

Evan's first book was The Plays and Poems of William Cartwright (1951), an edition of the obscure poet and playwright William Cartwright. He also edited Shakespearean Prompt-Books of the 17th Century (1960–80), a series of editions of rare promptbooks.

His Riverside Shakespeare edition was published in 1974 by Houghton Mifflin, and became a popular edition of Shakespeare's complete works. Evans co-edited an updated version in 1997. He also edited Richard III for the New Penguin Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet for the New Cambridge Shakespeare.

Evans's teaching style was simple and peculiarly effective. Working through Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, he offered quiet comment, but did so on the move, walking around the front of the class in a way that strangely contributed to one's attention to him. His courteous good nature seemed never to fail him. Even in old age he continued his habits as a scholar, stalking the corridors and stacks of Harvard's Widener Library, steadily working.

Evans's last book was The Poems of Robert Parry, a study of the little-known poet Robert Parry. It was published posthumously after Evans died on 23. Dec. 2005 aged 93.

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