“TAKE NO EXAMPLE NEITHER TO BEGINNE, FOR SOME BY PRESIDENT DELIGHT TO SINNE”: 1640 FIRST EDITION OF FLETCHER’S RULE A WIFE AND HAVE A WIFE
FLETCHER, John. Rule a Wife and Have a Wife. A Comedy. Acted by His Majesties Servants. Oxford: Printed by Leonard Lichfield, Printer to the University, 1640. Small quarto (5-1/2 by 7-1/2 inches), 18th-century full speckled brown calf gilt rebacked, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt; pp.68. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $3500.
First edition of one of Fletcher’s “best unaided productions” (Pforzheimer), a scarce and desirable 17th-century dramatic quarto.
Fletcher succeeded Shakespeare as the house playwright for the King’s men, and was regarded as Shakespeare’s equal in his day. His works produced with fellow playwright Francis Beaumont were considered by Rosenbach to be “almost equal in importance in English literature to the First Folio of Shakespeare” (Rosenbach 25:7). “This is one of the latest, if not the last of Fletcher’s plays, being licensed 19th October 1624. It is also one of his best unaided productions” (Pforzheimer 372). Also one of Fletcher’s most popular plays, Rule a Wife and Have a Wife has never been regarded as anything but a product solely of Fletcher; modern textual scholarship has confirmed this view. STC11073.
Interior quite clean, paper repairs to last leaf, only barely affecting page number. An extremely good copy.