Description

    Thomas Otway. [Don Carlos Prince of Spain.] [London:] [Richard Tonson,] [1676]. Krown & Spellman retail: $150. First Edition. 4to. [-AI-4], B-I4,K2 66,[1],[1]p. Disbound, lacking title page, prologue and dedication. Worn and torn with some damage to right margins, last leaf mounted. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    More Information: Otway (1652-85) English dramatist and poet. "Otway's next play, Don Carlos, Prince of Spain, opened the following year on 9 June (and was published the same year). The play was dedicated to the duke of York, and the preface acknowledges the poet's 'unspeakable Obligations' to John Wilmot, earl of Rochester, who made it 'his business to establish it in the good opinion of the King, and his Royal Highness' (Works, 1.174). Briefly, at least, Otway was enjoying noble patronage and royal favour. The play contains echoes of John Dryden's Tyrannick Love (1669) and Aureng-Zebe (1675) as well as of Shakespeare's Othello and Hamlet. The main source, however, was the historical novella Don Carlos by Cesar Vischard, l'abbe de St Real, which had been published in France in 1672 and 'englished' by 'H. I.' in 1674. Otway condensed the action from many months to about twenty-four hours to create an intense tragedy of sexual rivalry between father and son, both of whom love the king's new wife, who was formerly engaged to the son. In the king's illegitimate brother, Don John of Austria, Otway created a cheerful libertine whose carefree sexuality provides a counterpoint to the frustrated sexual and political desires experienced by the triangle of father, son, and wife. Fashionably libertine and sexually charged, Don Carlos was a great success. John Downes noted that 'all Parts being admirably Acted, it lasted successively ten days; it got more Money than any preceding Modern Tragedy' (Downes, 36). The roles of King Philip, Don Carlos, and Elizabeth, were taken by Betterton, William Smith, and Mary Lee respectively." [ODNB]  Wing O542. ESTC r10765.

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