FIRST EDITIONS OF TWO OF HENRY FIELDING'S BEST EARLY PLAYS: THE TEMPLE BEAU, 1730, AND THE MISER, 1733, HANDSOMELY BOUND
FIELDING, Henry. The Temple Beau. A Comedy. As it Is Acted at the Theatre in Goodman's-Fields. WITH: The Miser. A Comedy. Taken from Plautus and Moliere. As it Is Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's Servants. London: J. Watts, 1730, 1733. Two volumes. Slim octavo, early 20th-century full burgundy morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers. Housed together in a custom slipcase. $2000.
First editions of two of Fielding's early plays, handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt.
This set comprises two of Fielding's early plays from when he was just beginning to establish his reputation as a dramatist. The first, The Temple Beau, shows Fielding's promise, while the second—published just three years later—reflects Fielding's transition to a confident and accomplished playwright, fully in command of his talents. "In March 1728 he left England for some months to study literature at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, and to see something of Europe. When he returned to London in January 1730 he had to carry his next play, The Temple Beau, to Goodman's Fields, a new playhouse with a much inferior company of actors located in the City. The comedy was nevertheless well received; Fielding's career as dramatist had begun in earnest… The Miser (1733), a lively adaptation of Molière's L'Avare, was by far Fielding's most successful play in this classic form; it held the stage for years to come" (DNB). Wing N4473, T49927. Early ink title page owner signature in The Temple Beau.