“THE BEST AND SCARCEST OF THE OLD ENGLISH PLAYS”
(DODSLEY, R.). A Select Collection of Old Plays. London: Printed for R. Dodsley, 1744. Twelve volumes. Small octavo, contemporary full tan calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, tan and black morocco spine labels. $2500.
First edition of Dodsley’s selection of 61 old English plays from the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, 12 very handsome volumes in full contemporary calf-gilt.
"This collection contains 60 of the best and scarcest of the old English Plays, beginning with the Moralities and Mysteries. Much valuable information is interspersed throughout the volumes. 'We may here perceive how this noble generation of poets, some of whose names are not familiar to us, have moulded our language with the images of their fancy, and strengthened it by the stability of their thoughts' (Disraeli). 'No species of fiction is so delightful as the Old English Drama; even its inferior productions possess a charm not to be found in any other kind of Poetry' (Macauley)" (Allibone I, 510). Includes plays by Massinger, Ford, Fletcher, Jonson, Marlowe, Chapman, Middleton, Killegrew, and many others. Also includes "A Dialogue on Plays and Players" in Volume XI. Engraved vignette title pages printed in red and black.
A splendid set, most desirable in fine contemporary calf-gilt.