Sale 14BP01 | Lot 116

[ELIZABETHAN - DRAMA] JONSON, BEN. Workes

Catalogue: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs
[ELIZABETHAN - DRAMA]  JONSON, BEN. Workes

Lot Details

Lot 116
[ELIZABETHAN - DRAMA] JONSON, BEN. Workes. London: William Stansby, 1616; Together with Workes. London: 1640-41 (comprising the seco...
. London: William Stansby, 1616; Together with Workes. London: 1640-41 (comprising the second and third volumes). The first volume has the fine engraved title (by William Hole, present here in state "c") "Imprinted... by Will Stansby"; the second volume (actually volume II, and the three parts of III) with Richard Meighen's imprint on the main title. Two volumes, contemporary panelled calf, gilt spines, edges sprinkled red; Volume I is a small paper copy, thus, in addition to being the first edition it is (according to Pforzheimer) the earlier state; the large paper copies show textual evidences of having been published later. In volume II, part I, the work "Divell is an Asse" is the 1641 reprint, Pforzheimer's "e." The whole bound as two volumes, in identical contemporary panelled calf, spine gilt in six compartments, sprinkled edges. 10 3/4 x 7 inches (27 x 18 cm); Volume I collates as per Pforzheimer i.e. [para]^6, A-4P^(6), 4Q^(4) (the first leaf, probably blank, lacking, as also Pforzheimer, and with the two incorrect signings noted on p. 572 of Pforzheimer). The collation of the second volume is complex, but it appears complete; it differs in signings and order from the Pforzheimer copy. The collation will be supplied upon request. One leaf in the second volume has a small natural paper flaw, with loss of a few letters. The bindings were carefully restored at some point, retaining the attractive original spines, and exhibit some new joint defects but are overall solid. The first volume is generally clean, barring occasional spotting and some marginal staining affecting a few signatures; there are marginal tears in A1 and 2, and a paper flaw (not affecting text) on Xx4. The second has some soiling to the title and a tear in the gutter margin, pale old staining affecting the last quarter of the work, a small hole affecting a few letters at E3 in the second volume. Overall this is an exceptionally sound set in contemporary binding of a work, and is rarely found thus. The William Stirling Maxwell copy, with his pencilled notes. Both volumes bear a discreet early inscription "Stamford 1693."
This is an apparently complete set (other than some blanks, including the first; there is no portrait called for in the first edition), with the preliminaries to the first volume including the commendatory verses.
As Pforzheimer says, "the bibliographical variations of this book are bewildering"... Certainly, the second volume follows a significantly different order than the Pforzheimer copy, but appears complete by signatures and pagination. What we can say is that Every Man out of his Humor has the ornamental title with compartment, and has Pforzheimer's first reading (which is congruent with small paper). Poetaster is in the second setting (without compartment). Quire Yy (pp. 529-540) has all the small-paper points.
The first volumes consists of engraved title, four preliminary leaves, and Every Man in his Humor; Every Man out of his Humor; Cynthia's Revels...; Poetaster...; Sejanus his Fall; Volpone, of the Fox; Epicoene or the Silent Woman...; The Alchemist; Catiline; Epigrammes including The Forrest; Part of the Kings Entertainment... A Panegyre...; A Particular Entertainment...; and Masques at Court. The second volume contains Bartholemew Fayre; The Divell is an Asse; and The Staple of Newes. This is followed by The Magnetic Lady...; A Tale of a Tub; The Sad Shepherd...; Under-woods; Mortimer his Fall (the play fragment, Qq2r-4v, as called for); Christmas, his Masque; Horace, His Art of Poetrie; The English Grammar; Timber, or Discoveries.
The first folio editions of Jonson are exceedingly rare in complete state. Jonson himself prepared the 1616 volume, starting his labors in 1612, using the quarto texts but revising them. This edition (at least those portions that he prepared) is thus definitive. In addition, he made many further corrections while the book was at press. With the second volume, he oversaw only volume II, part I. Shakespeare is mentioned on pages 72 and 438 of the first volume (as a comedian and tragedian respectively). Hayward English Poetry 59; STC 14751 & 14754; Pforzheimer 559, 560.


Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Sold for $17,500 (includes buyer's premium)

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Additional Notes & Condition Report

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Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Sold for $17,500 (includes buyer's premium)

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Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs

Wed, Apr 09, 2014 at 10am EDT
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