Item #1003279 The Rivals, A Comedy. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, A. S. W. Rosenbach.
The Rivals, A Comedy
The Rivals, A Comedy
The Rivals, A Comedy
The Rivals, A Comedy

The Rivals, A Comedy

London: John Wilkie, 1775. Octavo, measuring 8 x 5 inches: x, [6], 100. Modern full red morocco by Rivière, raised bands, spine lettered in gilt, gilt-ruled doublures, all edges gilt. Bound with half-title. Penciled bookseller notes and bookplate of Montgomery Evans II to front pastedown. Typed description on card with printed heading “From the Rosenbach Collection” laid in. Upper joint tender, abrasion to head of lower board.

First edition, the Rosenbach copy, of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s great stage comedy The Rivals, first performed at Covent Garden in January 1775. The plot turns on the young heiress Lydia Languish, whose addiction to romance novels leads her to expect high drama from her suitors: “I thought we were coming to the prettiest distress imaginable . . . There had I projected one of the most sentimental elopements! – so becoming a disguise! – so amiable a ladder of Ropes!” Lydia’s easily confused guardian Mrs. Malaprop, who continually mistakes one word for another, would inspire a new literary term in English, “malapropism.” ESTC T45136. First issue, with the catchword EPI- on the final page signaling that the Epilogue is to follow; the Epilogue actually appears here after the Prologue, with the Errata and Dramatis Personae. Page 79 correctly numbered. This copy belonged to the great American book dealer A.S.W. Rosenbach (1876-1952), who helped build the collections of Henry Huntington, J.P. Morgan, Henry Clay Folger, and Harry Widener, and later to book collector Montgomery Evans II (1898-1954). A near-fine example, with excellent provenance.

Price: $1,500.00