First Edition of Granville's Adaptation of "The Merchant of Venice"
SHAKESPEARE, William. Jew of Venice. A Comedy. As it is Acted at the Theatre in Little-Lincolns-Inn-Fields, By His Majesty's Servants. London: Printed for Ber. Lintott , 1701.
First edition of this Shakespeare adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. The Houghton Library copy with the impression of his book-label offset onto half-title. Small quarto

(8 9/16 x 6 1/4 inches; 217 x 160 mm). [8], 46, [1, epilogue], [1, advertisements] pp. With half-title. Includes "Peleus & Thetis. A masque" with continuous pagination.

Later drab blue boards. Bottom edge uncut. Front board cracked at hinge, but holding. Some mild foxing and half-title toned. Some light pencil notes to front board and endpapers. Minor worming to the bottom margin of a few leaves, not affecting text. Overall very good.

"Dryden also encouraged Granville to follow in his footsteps in the modern adaptation of Shakespeare. Granville's The Jew of Venice (acted in 1701) was, like his two previous plays, performed by the company of the great Thomas Betterton at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Granville here tried to address himself to features in Shakespeare's play which had troubled some parts of Shakespeare's perennial audience as well as impressing others. After a prologue consisting of a dialogue between Shakespeare and the recently dead Dryden, Granville's drama tries to build up Antonio (played by Verbruggen), develop Bassanio (played by Betterton himself), and reduce the dominance of Shylock. Shylock was here played by the noted comic actor Doggett. A new scene in which Shylock banquets with Christians must have given a wonderful opportunity to the players of Betterton's Company. Opinion is bound to be divided about Granville's adaptation, but it held the stage for forty years." (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

"The author of this adaptation of the Merchant of Venice in the Advertisement to the Reader states:'...The reader may please moreover to take Notire [sic] (that nothing may be imputed to Shakespear which may seem unworthy of him) that such Lines as appear to be markt, are Lines added, to make good the Connexion where there was a necessity to leave out; in which all imaginable Care has been taken to imitate the same fashion of Period, and turn of Stile and Thought with the Original'. The success of these endeavors, however, was not conspicuous." (Pforzheimer, 916)

Jaggard, 394. Pforzheimer 916. Shaksperiana,. ESTC, T29080.

HBS # 68289 $2,500