Alexander Pope's Edition of
    the Works of Shakespeare

    [William Shakespeare]. [Alexander Pope, editor]. The Works of Shakespear. In Six Volumes. Collated and Corrected by the former Editions, By Mr. Pope. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson in the Strand, 1723-1725. [together with:] [Dr. Sewell, editor]. The Works of Mr. William Shakespear. The Seventh Volume... London: Printed by J. Darby, 1725. Seven quarto volumes. xxiv ("Preface of the Editor"), [xxv]-xli ("Some Account of the Life, &c. of Mr. William Shakespeare. Written by Mr. Rowe"), [1], [3, poem by Ben Johnson], [7, Subscribers list], [2], [1-3], 4-563; [1-5], 6-656; [4], [1]- 499; [1-5], 6-[548]; [1-5], 6-599; [1-7], 8-591, [36, Index] pages. lvii, [i-iii], iv, 5-454, [2] pages. Main title page of Tonson's work in red and black, dated 1725, with the other six title pages in black, dated 1723. Volume one with an engraving by G. Vertue of William Shakespear writing at his tomb, lacks frontispiece portrait. Head- and tail- pieces, decorated initials. Uniformly bound in mottled calf with gilt rules and corner decorations, gilt board edges, rebacked with new calf spines, five raised bands, gilt lettered title labels and decorations in compartments, marbled edges. Bookplate of Robert Shafto on front pastedowns and bookplate of William Adair on rear pastedowns. Volume two pages 89-472, volume five pages [1]-48, and volume six pages 145-240, printed on a heavier and whiter paper stock, possibly supplied prior to rebacking (maintaining uniform marbling). Some image offset primarily from the printing on these pages. Boards rubbed, small cracks and textured surface loss, edge wear and corner bumps. Bleedthrough and transfer to endpapers from leather turn-ins, unobtrusive pencil annotations on endpapers, foxing, some dampstains and soiling, few page creases, edge wear and corner bends. Very good. From the collection of Donald Carter.

    More Information:

    Pope had been working simultaneously on this and his celebrated translation of Homer, published the same year, for the past few years, both being published by Tonson. 750 copies were printed, although 140 were left unsold. As with Rowe, Pope's edition covered only the plays. The supplemental volume was published in 1725, but neither Tonson nor Pope had any part in it.

    Ford, Shakespeare 1700-1740, pp. 19-21; Griffith 149; Jaggard, p. 498.


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