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2020-10-10 08:37:02
[Griffith, Elizabeth] Mrs. Griffith
The Morality of Shakespeare's Drama Illustrated (Association copy)
London: T. Cadell in the Strand, 1775. First edition. Contemporary calf rebacked to style with morocco spine label, and retaining contemporary boards. Pages measuring 200 x 120 mm and collating complete including frontis: xiii, [3], 528. A square, tight, pleasing copy. Early ownership signature of Catherine Mason to title page. Offsetting to front and rear pastedowns. The mildest offsetting to title page from frontis. Frontis trimmed a bit close on the outer edge, not affecting text or image. A scarce book of literary criticism, which last appeared at auction in 1974, the present copy was owned by the author and her husband. In it, Richard Griffith writes and signs an original holograph poem "To the Author" on the verso of the front endpaper, proclaiming her a "chaste scribe" responsible for crowning Shakespeare with "a nobler wreath of fame." Indeed, in highlighting morals and virtue in literature, Richard asserts, Elizabeth should "add the example of thy Life, and prove the Wits inferior to my Wife." At a time when Voltaire and his literati questioned the artistic value of Shakespeare's works, a group of Bluestockings rose up in his defense, positing his lasting importance. While Charlotte Lennox's three volume Shakespeare Illustrated (1753-1754) laid the groundwork for female literary critics' involvement with the Bard, "Griffith's work paved the way for an emerging critical association between Shakespeare and national identity that was to gain strength and dominate literary criticism in the Romantic period and beyond" (Eger). Unlike Lennox, who tagged Shakespeare as uno … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Whitmore Rare Books [USA]

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