14 April 2004
CONGREVE, William (1670-1729). The Old Batchelour, A Comedy. As it is Acted at the Theatre Royal, by Their Majesties Servants. London: Printed for Peter Buck, 1693.
4o (215 x 161 mm). (Inner margin of title renewed, browned.) 20th-century brown half morocco (lightly sunned at top). Provenance: Frank Brewer Bemis (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF CONGREVE'S FIRST PLAY. "Dryden pronounced it to be the best first play he had ever seen; and the players, to whom he had at first read it so badly that they almost rejected it, soon changed their opinion. The manager granted him the privilege of the house for six months before it was acted, a then unprecedented compliment" (DNB). Congreve wrote that he had written the play four years earier to "amuse himself in a slow recovery from a fit of sickness." Wing C-5863.
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