"ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING DRAMATISTS OF THE RESTORATION": FIRST COLLECTED EDITION OF DRYDEN'S PLAYS, HANDSOMELY BOUND
DRYDEN, John. The Comedies, Tragedies, and Operas… Now first Collected together, and Corrected from the Originals. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, Thomas Bennet, and Richard Wellington, 1701. Two volumes. Folio (9 by 14 inches), early 20th-century full olive morocco, gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $2500.
First collected edition of the plays of poet laureate John Dryden, featuring his Essay on Dramatick Poesie—"a landmark in the history of English literary criticism"—along with All for Love and The Conquest of Granada. Handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt by the Club Bindery.
Poet, satirist and critic, John Dryden also stands as "one of the outstanding dramatists of the Restoration." A writer for the King's Theatre, "his most important contribution to the English theatre was undoubtedly the heroic drama" (Hartnoll, 232). Above all "Dryden was, fundamentally, a dramatist, a writer who loved dialogue and impersonation, and delighted in giving voice to conflicting ideas… Dryden's work exemplifies Eliot's argument that tradition—specifically, the literary heritage—is not static or constrictive; rather it is a dynamic resource" (Hammond, John Dryden, 8-13). In addition to the heroic dramas, this first collected edition contains all of Dryden's comedies and his influential Essay on Dramatick Poesie (1668)—"a landmark in the history of English literary criticism" (Pforzheimer 335), along with All for Love (1678), "the finest product of Restoration tragedy" (Pforzheimer 313), and Almanzor and Almahide: or The Conquest of Granada, in which "Dryden brought the heroic play to the fullest expansion of which it was capable" (Sutherland, 61). Occasional mispagination without loss of text. Without frontispiece portrait. Macdonald 107ai. CBEL II: 262. Bookplate.
Text clean and fine, a bit of rubbing to joints and corners, spines gently sunned, gilt bright. A handsome, near-fine copy.