1692 FIRST COMPLETE COLLECTED EDITION OF BEN JONSON'S WORKS, "DRAMATIST, FRIEND AND CONTEMPORARY OF SHAKESPEARE"
JONSON, Ben. The Works of Ben Jonson, Which were formerly Printed in Two Volumes, are now Reprinted in One. To which is added a Comedy called the New Inn. London: Printed by Thomas Hodgkin, for H. Herringman, et al., 1692. Folio, 18th-century full brown calf rebacked and recornered retaining old morocco spine label, crowned cypher centerpieces, raised bands, marbled endpapers. $8800.
First edition of the "first complete collected edition" of Jonson's Works, with engraved frontispiece portrait and the first collected printing of The New Inn.
Ben Jonson was "dramatist, friend and contemporary of Shakespeare, and perhaps the only one worthy to rank with him" (Hartnoll, 446). To Dryden, "Shakespeare was the Homer or father of dramatic poets, Jonson was the Virgil" (Allibone I:998). In 1616 James I granted Jonson a pension, essentially identifying him as the first Poet Laureate of England. That same year Jonson published the first folio edition of his Works, which "raised the drama to a new level of respectability" (Drabble, 517). This is the "first complete collected edition… and the last of the folio editions" of Jonson's Works (Pforzheimer 561), assembling in one volume the 1640-41 edition and featuring the first collected printing of The New Inn. Contained herein are Jonson's many dramatic and poetical works, including Every Man in His Humor, Volpone, The Alchemist, Jonson's many masques, his translation of Horace's Ars Poetica and the leges convivales or "social rules," which had not appeared in the previous Works and were inscribed over the mantel of the Apollo Room and St. Dunstan Tavern, where Jonson and his circle gathered. Publisher "Herringman had had the collection in mind since 1679, when, in their address to the reader before the Beaumont and Fletcher folio, he and Martin and Marriot announced their attention 'to bring Ben Johnson's [sic] two volumes into one' and 'to reprint Old Shakespear'. The Shakespeare appeared in 1685, the Jonson had to wait another seven years." Complete with The Devil is an Ass (from 1631 not 1641); The New Inn, printed from the separate edition of 1631. As issued without pages 265-80, 375-6, 383-92, indicating, "that the book was printed in three sections simultaneously and that the space required for the first and second [sections] was overestimated" (Greg III:1639). As always with this edition, sheets Ccc and Zz2-3 are browned, attributed to the use of a different paper. Mispagination of 369-70 as issued. With engraved frontispiece portrait. Text in double columns. Greg III:1692. Lowndes, 1230. Pforzheimer 561. Wing J1006.
Text generally fresh with some scattered foxing, early calf covers with some markings and scuffs, nicely restored.