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UPTON, John (1707--1760)
Critical observations on Shakespeare. By John Upton prebendary of Rochester.
London: printed for G. Hawkins, 1746.
[4], 346, [18] p.; 21.8 cm. (8°)

First edition of this popular book of criticism, part of the eighteenth-century attempt to 'improve' Shakespeare's work. An interesting study of Shakespeare language, grammar, and versification, with particular attention to the relationship between the plays and the literature of Greece and Rome. Upton was trained at Oxford in the scholarly tradition of Richard Bentley (though he regards Bentley himself as somewhat devious in his methods). When this book was published Upton had left Exeter College, Oxford to become prebendary of Rochester; he later produced an edition of Spenser's Faerie Queene, and a critical work on Ben Jonson (though this is sometimes ascribed to his father James Upton). With a final advertisement leaf. Page 249 misnumbered 492. ESTC t57028; Alston III, 82; CBEL II, 1750; Jaggard, p. 673.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the advertisement leaf. Inscribed in pencil on front paste-down 3/- and 709, and in Soane's hand in ink 0/3/0 Lumley, referring to Edward Lumley the bookseller, from whom Soane bought this copy for 3s. on 27 May 1829. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.26). Earlier bookplate removed from front pastedown, leaving still visible an earlier MS. date of 1751. Long MS. notes in an earlier hand on pp. 12--13, 216--217, 300--301, and 340. ... Surely poor Mr Upton was very little acquainted with fairies / notwithstanding his laborious study of Spenser ...

Binding C18th quarter sheep, marbled-paper boards, black morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 1515


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