London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. de Hondt, 1766. Fourth edition of The Critic, second edition of The Cunning-Man. Contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards, expertly rebacked to style. With the bookplate of J.S. Bentley to the front paste down endpaper, and that of Thomas Merriman to the front free endpaper. Collating , 98; , 30, [1, adv.], [1, blank]. Engraved title page to The Critic. The Cunning-Man complete with the publisher's notice, dated Nov. 29, 1766, at the end advertising translated works by Rousseau. A Very Good copy.
The Critic was first performed 30 October 1779; the first edition was issued in 1781, and this, the fourth edition, was issued later in the same year. The Prologue is by Richard Fitzpatrick. Another huge success for the celebrated dramatist, The Critic is "an exuberant burlesque on the problems of producing a play. The work under rehearsal by its distraught producer is The Spanish Armada, a ludicrous parody of the modish tragic drama of the day… The action of the main play continues with undiminished vivacity to the end" (OCEL). Playwright, producer, and theater manager and owner Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) made his reputation as a dramaturge in 1775 with The Rivals. Success followed success, celebrity ensued, and soon Sheridan bought out actor playwright, and impresario David Garrick's share in the Drury Lane Theatre and became its manager. The fabulous success of his School For Scandal gave him the wherewithal to become the sole proprietor of the Drury Lane Theatre in 1779. He was considered the true heir of Garrick, the most respected and celebrated theatrical personage of his age, and later became a MP.
Bound with The Cunning-Man, Charles Burney's translation and adaptation of the libretto and songs to Rousseau's pastoral opera Le Devin du Village. "As with many French operas, Rousseau’s Le devin du village was first staged for the court, appearing at Fountainebleau on 18 October 1752. The work was then performed at the Paris Opéra on 1 March 1753. The historical importance of this short intermè is closely tied to its role in the famous Querelle de bouffons, a debate about the merits of French serious opera in comparison to Italian comic opera (especially Pergolesi’s La serva padrona)" (OCEL).
The Critic: Cf. CBEL II, 819. Cf. Rothschild 1846. Cf. Williams 222. The Cunning-Man: Sénelier 225. Dufour 48. Classe 1197. (Item #3783)