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MORGANN, Maurice.

An Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff.

London: for T. Davies, 1777 Stock Code: 119784
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First edition. Morgann "took issue with Dr Johnson as to whether the knight was a fat, drunken coward or a figure worthy of admiration. In a close analysis of Shakespeare's technique as a dramatist, Morgann argued that Shakespeare's intent was to gain sympathy from the audience for Falstaff at the expense of the virtuous young king and, in doing so, reverse or question accepted moral values. Consequently, in Morgann's essay, Falstaff becomes something of a witty, good-natured Don Quixote figure who displays true courage" (ODNB). Johnson's response was scornful - "Why, Sir, we shall have the man come forth again; and as he has proved Falstaff to be no coward, he may prove Iago to be a very good character" - but Morgann's essay greatly influenced literary criticism of 1 Henry IV well into the 20th century, particularly the literary approaches of Edward Dowden and A. C. Bradley.

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Octavo (213 x 132 mm). Contemporary tan calf, red morocco label, gilt rules either side of raised bands, red sprinkled edges.


With the half-title.


Early ownership inscription of W. Radcliffe on front pastedown, under remains of bookplate. Headcap worn, joints cracked at head and tail but holding firm, a couple of creased corners, contents clean, a very good copy.


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