14 April 2004
MIDDLETON, Thomas (1580-1627). The Familie of Love. Acted by the Children of his Majesties Revells. London: Printed [by Richard Bradock] for John Helmes, 1608.
4o (169 x 123 mm). (Title cropped at head affecting first word "The," some headlines cropped, worming affecting letters.) 20th-century polished calf, gilt-lettered on spine.
FIRST EDITION, second state of the title with "Famelie" corrected to read "Familie": "The alteration was apparently not made until the printing of sheet A was nearly completed, for copies of the later state are rarer than those of the earlier" (Pforzheimer).
The play ridicules the various weaknesses and vices of the citizens of London, and introduces the "Family of Love," a mystical sect founded by Heinrich Niclaes to which there are many references in the literature of the time. The play was very successful, and probably contributed much to establish Middleton's reputation, the 'Prologue' describing the author as not yet famous, while the 'Address to the Reader' refers complacently to the applause the play had excited when new. Greg 263 (second state title); Pforzheimer 694 (first state title); STC 17879.
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