London: Printed by T.N. for Henry Herringman, 1674. First Edition. Second edition of the 1670 Dryden-Davenant adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Small quarto (8 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches; 215 x 165 mm). , 81, [1, epilogue], [2, blank] pp. This is the only copy of this edition we could find at auction in the past 50 years. 19th-century half red morocco over red cloth by Riviere & Son. Morocco double ruled in gilt. Spine elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Spine slightly darkened. Some minor rubbing to edges. Almost invisibly repaired closed tear to leaf A4 of Prologue, with a tiny hole affecting a few letters. Leaves very lightly toned. Previous owner's bookplate on front pastedown. Overall a very good. copy.
"When theatres reopened after the return of the Stuarts, it was by no means certain whether or not Shakespeare's plays would be part of the repertory of the Restoration theatres...It was mainly due to the endeavors of Sir William Davenant and John Dryden that Shakespeare's plays remained popular. Dryden admired Shakespeare as 'the man who of all modern and perhaps ancient poets had the largest and most comprehensive soul'" (Auberlen). Dryden's operatic adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest is a key example of the Restoration dramatist's efforts to reshape earlier plays to the tastes of the current time. His version of the romance was tailored to the preferred language and wit of the court, which had begun to favor more formal diction and a greater adherence to classical expectations of dramatic action. An important play in its own time, which helped preserve Shakespeare's legacy today.
Jaggard, 462. Wing S2945. ESTC R20731. (Item #2194)