14 April 2004
[CHETTLE, Henry (ca 1560-ca 1607)]. The Tragedy of Hoffman or A Revenge for a Father. As it hath bin divers times acted with great applause, at the Phenix in Drury-Lane. London: Printed by I[ohn] N[orton] for Hugh Perry, 1631.
4o (179 x 135 mm). (Title with portion of inner margin renewed and a few chips at edges, B1 with lower corner renewed.) Modern green morocco, gilt-lettered on spine, by Riviere (front joint rubbed). Provenance: Huth (bookplate; sold 6 June 1912, lot 1564); Herschel V. Jones (bookplate removed but offsetting visible; sold Anderson Galleries, 2 December 1918, lot 321); Louis H. Silver (bookplate; sold in the sale of Newberry Library duplicates from the Silver accession, Sotheby's London, 8 November 1965, lot 65).
FIRST EDITION. "This play unfortunately was very corruptly printed. It was written according to Henslowe's records late in 1602, and was probably only the second part of The Danish Tragedy which Henslowe mentions earlier in the same year. Though corrupt it affords some measure of Chettle's power as a dramatist" (Pforzheimer). It is the only surviving play that can be attributed exclusively to him.
The work is notable for its similarities to the plot of Hamlet. Chettle wrote the play in 1602, PREDATING THE WRITING OF SHAKESPEARE'S 'HAMLET' BY ONE YEAR. Greg 182; STC 5125.
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