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The Works of Shakespear. In Six Volumes.

Collated and Corrected by the former Editions, By Mr. Pope.

London: for Jacob Tonson, 1725 Stock Code: 147523
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Pope's Shakespeare

First edition of Pope's Shakespeare, the first collected edition in quarto and only the second modern edition of Shakespeare, intended by Pope to remedy what he perceived as the deficiencies of his friend Rowe's 1709 edition. After the four Folios and two Rowe editions, this is the seventh edition overall.

Pope had been working simultaneously on this and his celebrated translation of Homer, published the same year, for the past few years, and Tonson published them both in sumptuous quarto format, handsomely printed and decorated. Johnson states that Pope's remuneration for the Shakespeare was 217.12s, and that 750 copies were printed, although 140 were left unsold. (A supplementary volume with a preface by Dr. Sewell was added in 1725, but Pope had no part in it.) The first volume is dated 1725, the others 1723, suggesting that the first volume was printed last: certainly Tonson did not send Pope a proof of his Preface until 23 December 1724. Colin Franklin points out that Pope's was "the first Preface to an edition of Shakespeare" (Shakespeare Domesticated: The Eighteenth-Century Editions, 1991, p. 62).

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6 volumes, large quarto (282 x 221 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, rebacked to style, probably 19th century, spines gilt in compartments, with renewed lettering- and numbering-pieces also to style, corners restored.


Engraved frontispiece portrait of Shakespeare, engraved plate of the Shakespeare monument (incorporating a portrait bust), engraved head- and tailpieces, decorated initials; first title printed in red and black.


Engraved armorial bookplate "Carton Library", from Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, the ancestral home of the FitzGeralds, earls of Kildare and dukes of Leinster, and typographical label Book Case 8, Shelf No. 1 completed by hand. Occasional light spotting, differential toning to some gatherings, in very good condition overall, bindings judiciously restored.


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


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