GASCOIGNE, George (1542?-1577). A hundreth sundrie flowres bounde up in one small poesie. London: [Henry Bynneman and Henry Middleton] for Richard Smith, .
4 (180 x 136mm). B1-2 cancelled as usual, without final blank. Black letter, roman and italic type. Typographical border and tailpieces, woodcut tailpiece, ornamental initials. (Marginal tear in 2 leaves, one corner torn just touching text, one headline shaved, some light soiling.) 19th-century blindstamped sheep, green speckled edges. Provenance: some early underlining, annotation on p.201 identifying 'F.I' as Freeman Jones.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PRINTED WORK OF GASCOIGNE, THE EARLIEST KNOWN COMEDY IN ENGLISH PROSE AND THE SECOND EARLIEST TRAGEDY IN ENGLISH BLANK VERSE (Pforzheimer). This edition comprises two distinct parts: an anthology of poetry by Gascoigne, and two plays translated into English by Gascoigne, Ariosto's comedy, Supposes, and Lodovico Dolce's tragedy, Jocasta , translated with Francis Kinwelmershe. The two plays were presented by Gascoigne at Gray's Inn in 1566. Shakespeare is thought to have borrowed from Gascoigne's Supposes the name Petruchio and the subplot of Lucentio's suit to Bianca for The Taming of the Shrew.
Several bibliographical peculiarities mark this edition: its two parts are collated separately, the printer's colophon appears at the end of the first part on p.164, and the pagination of the second part begins 201. Also, the title and address to the reader pertain only to the poems, although these do not appear until the second half of the book. These details led Pforzheimer to suggest that the edition was first conceived as two publications, which were somewhat crudely joined when the manuscript of the poems arrived at the printing shop. The cancelled leaves B1-2 presumably contained preliminary matter common to the plays. Recent analysis of this edition refines but does not substantially alter Pforzheimer's findings, concluding that production was shared between two printers, Bynneman and Middleton, and that it occupied an unusually long time, 8 months. The delay was almost certainly caused by the delivery of copy, which was supplied in at least 6 separate segments, beginning with the two plays (cf. Studies in Bibliography 45, 1992, pp.71-104).
RARE; Pforzheimer knew of 15 copies only, many of which are imperfect. Greg III, p.1061; Hayward 17; Grolier, From Langland to Wither 106; Pforzheimer 403; Scott, Elizabethan Translations from the Italian 137, 138; STC 11635.