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SHAKESPEARE, William (1564--1616)
[Selections. 1780]
The beauties of Shakespear: regularly selected from each play. With a general index, digesting them under proper heads. Illustrated with explanatory notes, and similar passages, from ancient and modern authors. By William Dodd, L.L.D. ... In three volumes. The third edition with large additions, and the author's last corrections. Vol. I (II, III).
London: printed for J. MacGowan, 1780.
3 vols ; 17.0 cm. (12º)
I: xx, [2], 264, [12] p.
II: [4], 263, [9] p.
III: [4], 312, [8] p.

The first Shakespeare anthology, the first edition of which was published in in 1752 and the second in 1757, both in two volumes. The only enduring work of the 'unfortunate Doctor Dodd', now best known for Dr. Johnson's unavailing championship of his cause when he was convicted of forgery. Having become a clergyman, and known as a supporter of charities such as the Magdalen Hospital for Penitent Prostitutes and a popular preacher whose fashionable attire earned him the nickname 'the Macaroni Parson', Dodd's pursuit of advancement inevitably led him into debt. In February 1777 he sought to satisfy his creditors by discounting a forged bill of exchange for £4200, allegedly drawn by his former pupil the Earl of Chesterfield, but was arrested four days later and convicted of capital forgery. Dodd was sentenced to death and hanged at Tyburn on 27 June 1777 despite a popular campaign to obtain mercy for 'the unfortunate divine' including a number of petitions and the support of Dr Johnson, who wrote a number of speeches and prayers published under Dodd's name (q.v.). Soane must have been impressed by this news story in the year prior to his grand tour, because nearly half a century later in 1825 he purchased a small bust of Dodd in bronze which is displayed on the projecting pedestal to the right of the fireplace on the east side of the Library Dining Room at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields. Publisher's advertisements at the end of vols I and II. ESTC t93892.

Copy Notes Probably the set in three volumes acquired on 13 July 1784 for 7s. 6d. (SNB). Some MSS. additions to the indexes. There is archival evidence that Soane later purchased at least three further copies of Dodd's anthology in addition to the copy of the 1810 edition still in the library (q.v.), presumably as gifts.

Binding C18th sprinkled calf, gilt-ruled spines, red morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 3694


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