Edinburgh: Printed by Geo. Reid & Co., 1798. First Illustrated Edition. Finely bound by Riviere in half green morocco over marbled boards, marbled end papers, top-edge gilt. Pages untrimmed throughout. A tall copy measuring 245 x 155mm and collating , [vi], 7-124 : bound without the list of subscribers or advertisement, else complete including the engraved frontis portrait of John Home and five engraved plates.
A blank verse tragedy by the Scottish writer John Home, it was first performed in Edinburgh in 1756. A great success in its time, some of the period's best actors sought to play the title role. "The play's impact in Scotland when it debuted was tremendous and made Home a household name. Supporters compared him to Shakespeare and patriotically touted Douglas as an example of Scottish drama that could stand aside the greatest works of classical drama" (McGinley). Others, however, found scandal in a minister of the kirk turning playwright. "The pamphlet war that ensued produced a plethora of attacks and defences of Home and his play...from learned disquisitions on the value of theatre to satirical mock ballads" (McGinley). Despite or perhaps because of this, Douglas became a repertory standard across the UK and in the US, though it would eventually fall out of print after 1972.
ESTC N365. (Item #4791)