London: Oxford University Press, 1962. Pocket volume, measuring 6 x 3.5 inches: xvi, 553, . Original blue blindstamped boards, spine lettered in gilt, original unclipped pictorial dust jacket printed in green and black. Lightest shelfwear to jacket.
First edition of this anthology of English plays written during the Caroline era, before the English Civil War effectively shuttered the theaters. The selections include two plays by James Shirley (The Lady of Pleasure, The Wedding), two by Richard Brome (A Mad Couple Well Matched, The Antipodes), William Davenant’s The Wits, and Thomas Killigrew’s The Parson’s Wedding. Editor Knowland concedes that “the reign of Charles I is not an inspiring one for the student of drama,” but maintains that “Shirley’s grace and lucidity, Brome’s popular appeal, Davenant’s wit, Killigrew’s prose naturalism . . . help to make the transition to Restoration drama more intelligible.” A near-fine example of an uncommon anthology.