An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, Compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets, with Some Remarks upon the Misrepresentations of Mons. de Voltaire
by Montagu, Elizabeth; [Shakespeare, William]
London: Printed for J. Dodsley, Pall-mall; Mess. Baker and Leigh, York-street, Covent-garden; J. Walter, Charing-cross; T. Cadell, in the Strand; and J. Wilkie, No. 71. St. Paul's Church-yard, 1769. First edition of Elizabeth Montagu's popular essay on Shakespeare. Dubbed the "Queen of the Bluestockings" by Samuel Johnson, Montagu presided over one of the most important London salons of her day. In this essay, she sets her sights directly on Voltaire, pointing out the ludicrous aspects of the mannered French tragedies he prefers to Shakespeare, who understood and conveyed "the movements of the heart": "The French tragedians, on the contrary, attend not to the nature of the man whom they represent, but to the decorums of his rank." Montagu's defense of Shakespeare as "one of the greatest moral Philosophers that ever lived" created a sensation in England and abroad. A near-fine copy, in a contemporary binding. Octavo, contemporary full sprinkled calf gilt, raised bands, gilt-ruled spine, brown morocco spine label lettered in gilt. Armorial bookplate to front pastedown. Joints expertly repaired, occasional stray mark to margins.
(Inventory #: 1001527)
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