The Plays of William Shakespeare.


The Plays of William Shakespeare.
In Fifteen Volumes. With the Corrections and Illustrations of Various Commentators. To which are added, Notes by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens. The Fourth Edition…by the Editor of Dodsley’s Collection of Old Plays.
London, For T. Longman et al., 1793.

In stock


While still containing various Prefaces, Essays and Criticisms, in short all the requisite scholastic Gravitas that one would wish for in a serious edition, this one has the added interest and allure of the engraved plates and a ‘Historical Account of the English Stage’ that not only gives a history of its development but features some of the actors of the time such as Richard Burbadge, described as; ‘the most celebrated tragedian of our author’s time…’ There are also chapters on the learning of Shakespeare’s writing, as well as commendatory verses or poems on Shakespeare by various poets.

Aesthetically pleasing in every respect, in near-contemporary bindings.

Shakespeare’s works have also found themselves to be the subject of abridging, censoring and banning. the most famous example is the ‘bowdlerisation’ of the bards plays. Thomas Bowdler, an English physician created a “family friendly” version of Shakespeare’s works. ‘Family Shakespeare’ was published in 1818. Bowdler’s editing had cut 90% out of the stories and made a mockery of some of the greatest prose in the English language. Also banned In 1966 under Mao Tse-Tung’s ‘Cultural Revolution’.


15 volumes, 8vo., EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with about 145 engraved plates by S. and E. Harding, Millton Park stamp to each volume, occasional browning and off-setting, mostly to margins and verso of plates, near-contemporary straight-grained light brown morocco, all edges gilt, a little rubbed and bumped at extremities, otherwise a very good and readable set.

Provenance: Bookplates for Milltown Park and John Chamier Esq.



Stock ID: 96229