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LONDON MERCHANT OR, THE HISTORY OF GEORGE BARNWELL
1731. Very Good. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR AND FREQUENTLY PRODUCED PLAYS OF THE 18TH CENTURY LILLO, (George), Mr. THE LONDON MERCHANT: OR, THE HISTORY OF GEORGE BARNWELL. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. By His Majesty's Servants. London: Printed for J. Gray, ... ; and sold by J. Roberts, ..., 1731. First edition. Epilogue by Colley Cibber. Octavo. A6, B-E8, F2. 19.8 x 12 cm. x, [2], 67, [1] pp. Bound in quarter green leather with marbled boards, tile and decoration gilt-stamped on spine. Binding is faded on spine and shows general, light shelfwear. Text is clean. An attractive copy in very good condition. The London Merchant is the first and most successful of Lillo's domestic tragedies that were so influential in the development of new forms of serious drama during and after the eighteenth century, in both English-speaking theatre and on the Continent. Based upon a true story that was recorded in English ballads as early as the seventeenth century, it tells the tragic tale of George Barnwell, an essentially virtuous young man, who is seduced and ruined by the courtesan Sarah Millwood, who is known professionally simply as Millwood. In this play, everyday commercial life was made the theme of tragedy for the first time; and it was an immediate success. Alexander Pope is reported to have praised it, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu admired it. It was acted constantly in London in the season following its initial production in June 1731, and regularly throughout the eighteenth century and well into the next, frequently at holidays for apprentices as a cautionary tale. Owing to the play's success, there was such great demand for the printed text that by February 1732 the authorized publisher, John Gray, was releasing his fourth edition amidst a proliferation of unauthorized editions - the result of his inexplicable failure to enter his copyright. Translated into French, German, and Dutch, the play was successful on the Continent too, where G. E. Lessing and Denis Diderot were among its admirers. (Steffensen, The Dramatic Works of George Lillo; Arnott & Robinson p. 381; Rothschild 1329). We offer a first edition copy, which is rare in the marketplace, in very good condition.
      [Bookseller: Boston Book Company]
Last Found On: 2015-07-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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