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[THE NONESUCH DRYDEN]

DRYDEN, John
Dryden: The Dramatic Works
London: The Nonesuch Press, 1931-1932

Six volumes. Princess octavo (264 x 182 mm overall, the pages 257 x 170 mm). No. 42 of 50 numbered special sets on Van Gelder paper, of the entire limitation of 800 numbered sets. Publisher’s special binding of half vellum over marbled boards, spines lettered in gilt, top edges rough cut, others uncut. Collates (vol. 1) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (colophon), 1 l. (dedication), 1 l. (contents), ix-cxxxvi, 460 pp., 1 l. (printer’s credit), [2 ll.]; (vol. 2) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (contents), 532 pp., 1 l. (printer’s credit), [2 ll.]; (vol. 3) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (contents), 595 pp., 1 p. (printer’s credit), [1 l.]; (vol. 4) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (contents), 603 pp., 1 p. (printer’s credit), [1 l.]; (vol. 5) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (contents), 545 pp., [1 p.], 1 l. (printer’s credit), [1 l.]; (vol. 6) [3 ll.], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (contents), 594 pp., 1 l. (printer’s credit), [1 l.]. Negligible soiling and bumping to some vellum, negligible rubbing to some covers, slight toning to endpapers, else fine. A superlative set. D’Arch Smith B25; Dreyfus 80; Ransom, Selective Check Lists, p. 172, no. 80.

Montague Summers’s finely printed edition of the Plays and Of Dramatick Poesie is the first since Sir Walter Scott’s Works of 1808, revised by George Saintsbury at the end of the century. Notwithstanding Summers’s remarkable eccentricity, noted as carrying into his text, the Nonesuch Dryden is thus the first attempt at modern textual collation from the first quartos, and for its genesis Summers gives great credit to Sir Edmund Gosse.

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