“SHAKESPEARE’S POWER IS SACRED AS A KING’S”: 1690 QUARTO RESTORATION VERSION OF THE TEMPEST
(SHAKESPEARE) [DRYDEN, John and DAVENANT, William]. The Tempest, or the Enchanted Island. A Comedy. As it is now Acted At Their Majesties Theatre in Dorset-Garden. London: Printed by J. M. for H[enry] Herringman, 1690. Small quarto, 20th-century full navy morocco, all edges gilt. Housed in custom cloth clamshell box. $9500.
Fifth edition of the Restoration version of The Tempest by William Davenant and John Dryden, handsomely bound in full morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
After the end of the Puritan interval under Cromwell, the restored London theatre depended upon Shakespeare as a source of dramatic materials; but Shakespeare's plays, as he originally wrote them, did not suit the tastes of the newer audiences. Standards of versification and behavior had changed, and to meet the needs of contemporary audiences playwrights refurbished Shakespeare in adaptations that often proved enduring. The motivating force behind this Restoration Tempest was Sir William Davenant, the poet laureate, whose admiration for Shakespeare led him to hint that he himself was an illegitimate son of the dramatist. His co-adaptor Dryden, who the next year would succeed Davenant as poet laureate, writes in the Preface to this edition that Davenant "first taught him to admire" Shakespeare, and praises his amplification of Shakespeare's plot: balancing out the character of Miranda, a woman who has never seen a man, "he design'd the Counter-part to Shakespear's Plot, namely, that of a Man who had never seen a Woman." Samuel Pepys noted the premiere of the adaptation in his Diary on Nov. 7, 1667: "The house mighty full; the King and Court there: and the most innocent play that ever I saw… all mightily pleased with the play." The first edition of this version was published in 1670. Wing S2947. Jaggard, 463. McDonald 73d.
Interior quite clean, binding fresh. A lovely copy of this important Shakespeare adaptation.