London: Printed for John Wilson, 1827. First edition. Finely bound in full crushed morocco with bright gilt detail to spine, boards, and turnins. All edges brightly gilt. Marbled endpapers. Binding unsigned. Some mild rubbing to extremities, but gilt bright and a lovely copy overall. Bookplate of A. J. Cox on front pastedown. Internally about Fine, with some mild foxing to title and terminal advertisement. Collates xli, [1, blank], 69, [1, ad] with blanks interleaved every two sheets throughout for note-taking. At one time considered an authoritative source for scholars and collectors researching the printing and sales of Shakespeare's major work, it is now a charming and interesting glimpse into 19th century Shakespeare studies.
A book dealer himself, Wilson drew on his experience in the field to create this extensive work. Cited during the 19th and early 20th centuries by Shakespeare scholars such as R. W. Babcock, G.C. Taylor, and Robert D. Monroe, Wilson's bibliography of Shakespeare's printed first editions and their public sales was considered a key reference. Though Babcock notes in his own review that the work suffers for "not including editions, adaptations, alterations, operas, poems in general, or French or German texts," it still functioned as an accessible and as reliable a guide as one could come by (Studies in Philology). Of particular interest to Wilson was sharing knowledge on authenticity and the identification and culling of forgeries from collections -- a mission to which his 42 page preface is largely dedicated. In the pages that follow, Wilson details the print and sale histories of over 240 Shakespearean works. For this, Shakesperiana was hailed by professors, collectors, and dealers as "the first distinct effort towards a distinct Shakespeare bibliography" (Jaggard). Interleaved with paper for note-taking and finely bound, this copy is an exquisite example of this charming Bard-centric rarity. (Item #2663)